Chicago Storm Water & Climate Change Vulnerability


Chicago Storm Water Policies and Climate Change Vulnerability

Chicago city has gone green, leading the world with America’s biggest sustainable community. The dedication of fashioning a greener city finds supporters in the urban farmers, universities, Mayor’s Office, grocers, City Hall, property owners, businesses, civic organizations, property owners, community gardens, and citizens from each neighborhood. There is a city-wide awakening in Chicago being witnessed and is taking place from the streets and evident in many ways (Bennett, 2010).

The wave of sustainability

The wave of sustainability aims to advance the sustainability of the city’s building, urban and businesses form. The city’s long-term initiatives comprise the expansion of natural habitats, waterfront access improvements, advances to the environmental performance of development sites as well as the promotion of urban agriculture and other matters of the local food system. therefore, a sustainable Chicago remains to be a city, which spends less on energy use annually, fashions good paying employment opportunities in up-and-coming companies, dutifully maintains and its infrastructure, and makes sure that every resident in the city has the opportunity to live an active and healthy lifestyle.

Accordingly, Chicago is awakening to a green future, a future that will assist the city to thrive and survive in the changing world, no matter the circumstances. This is an assurance that is growing and on a daily basis, Chicago is renewing its goal to emerge to be the world’s most sustainable city. With such a big dream and pioneering residents and a focused government, the city’s prospect is promising and growing ever greener (Bennett, 2010).


Chicago is shaped culturally and economically by Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and several wetlands, lagoons, and creeks that surround the city. Through history, the city has utilized natural attractions and resources to grow and achieve world-class status and to offer reliable drinking water and recreational activities to residents and visitors. Chicago city is blessed with abundant water and the city has the responsibility of protecting and preserving the greatest natural resource. As wardens for water conservation, Chicago will be undertaking significant approaches to reduce its own water consumption and increase water quality for lakes and rivers. By cooperating on water policies, developing a Great Lakes agenda and establishing conservation and green infrastructure strategies, the City will assist all the residents to access and better conserve water (Brönnimann, 2007).

Chicago will need to upgrade its stormwater and sewer systems in order to manage its water resources effectively. Available statistics show that Lake Michigan distribution system loses about 70 million gallons of water through leaking pipes every day. The amount of water lost through leaking pipes amounts to approximately 8% of the water that flows into the system. Therefore, taking into account the number of energies and dollars used to pump the water, there is a need to extend the water supply system via better efficiency rather than only removing the cap. Nonetheless, Chicago is committed to enhancing water conversation by replacing leaking, century-old pipes and helping residents and businesses in managing water consumption (Libecap & Steckel, 2011).

Chicago climate

Chicago climate is classically continental having warm summers, cold winters and frequent short fluctuations in humidity, temperature, wind direction and cloudiness. The climate is shaped by four factors that include the sun, Lake Michigan, urban areas and weather systems. Sun as the primary source of energy determines seasonal variations and air temperatures significantly. Weather systems, the second factor affecting Chicago’s climate, create the wide variety of weather conditions, which takes place nearly daily due to varying air masses as well as passing storm systems (Libecap & Steckel, 2011). The initial local characteristic is the urban climate situated in the Chicago metropolitan region. Parking lots, buildings, industrial activities and roads make the urban climate visibly different from that of adjacent rural areas.

For instance, the city tends to be warmer by about 20 F, on average, specifically at night. In some instances, this change may be greater. This specific feature of the city’s climate is normally called ‘urban heat island effect’. On the other hand, Lake Michigan impacts the climate of Chicago city. The huge thermal mass of the lake tends to moderate temperatures, leading to cooler summers and warmer winters. Thus, one of the major advantages is cool breezes, which provides some relief from summer. The lake in most cases tends to raise cloudiness in the city and suppress summer precipitation (Smith, 2013).

Chicago authorities have established plans that will be used to mitigate the effect of climate in the area. They have implemented strategies that are geared towards protecting Lake Michigan’s shoreline from the effects of erosion. They have improved air quality by lowering ground-level ozone precursor emissions of pollutants that emanate from automobiles, industries and other sources. Lower summer energy use via home weatherization initiative, cooling program to spur innovation and green infrastructure program to save energy consumption hence least emissions are released. Adopt Chicago’s tree-planting programs aimed at changing climate because plants absorb carbon dioxide, manage heat, may tolerate anticipated climate changes and absorb stormwater (Libecap & Steckel, 2011).


In 1856, Chicago constructed a huge underground sewer system, which sent wastewater and stormwater to various treatment plants. Currently, Chicago is dedicated to improving the sewage system, and in the process, will lower combined basement flooding and sewer overflows, which result after heavy storms.



Bennett, L. (2010). The third city: Chicago and American urbanism. Chicago: University of   Chicago Press.

Brönnimann, S. (2007). Climate variability and extremes during the past 100 years. Dordrecht:   Springer.

Libecap, G. D., & Steckel, R. H. (2011). The economics of climate change: Adaptations past and present. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Smith, C. S. (2013). City water, city life: Water and the infrastructure of ideas in Urbanizing   Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago.



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