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Publication Abstract

Data for Assessing Drought Vulnerability of Illinois' Community Surface Water Systems. Hecht, Jory S. and H. Vernon Knapp, 2008  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS CR 2008-02    Full Text Available

This report describes the compilation of existing information and data that may be used to characterize water supply yields and potential adequacy of community surface water systems in Illinois. Each of the 101 community surface water systems in Illinois was characterized by the type of surface water source used for its supply. This report contains summaries of supply source information on 72 systems that withdraw water from intrastate bodies of water, including impounding and off-channel reservoirs, free-flowing rivers, and reclaimed quarries and borrow pits. The remaining 29 systems not included in this study obtain their supply from Lake Michigan (16), the Mississippi River (12), or the Ohio River (1).

Much of the information presented for the selected systems was collected by telephone interviews with water system administrators (plant superintendents, operators, and/or public works directors). These interviews were particularly important for identifying their ongoing or future plans to augment or change their sources of supply. Additional information collected on each system includes water production data and service area populations [obtained primarily from the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) Water Inventory Program], reservoir capacities (ISWS files and field surveys), and identification of stream gage records directly applicable to each system for use in hydrologic analysis. Other sources of information on each system include a prior study on the adequacy of surface water systems performed by the ISWS and fact sheets that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has prepared on each system. Also included is a discussion of observed trends in community surface water use in Illinois.

In the past 18 years, 24 community water systems have discontinued using surface water sources. Twenty of these systems, many of which had service area populations of less than 3,3001, are now purchasing water from other systems. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many small systems that have chosen to change their supply sources have had financial hardships in meeting new United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) surface water treatment requirements that the 1996 Amendments to the Surface Drinking Water Act mandated. Larger systems with greater financial resources have not had the same level of difficulty meeting stricter treatment criteria. Drought vulnerability is another factor that has led systems to change or augment their water supply sources over the past 18 years. Most systems previously considered to be vulnerable to the effects of a 20-year drought have since taken various actions to either augment or change their source of supply. When vulnerability to the more severe 50-year drought is considered, size of the water supply system may be an important factor influencing the steps that are taken, as larger systems appear more capable of taking action to augment existing supplies than their smaller counterparts.

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