The MWRD’s countywide Stormwater Management Program’s mission is to provide Cook County with effective rules, regulations and capital improvement projects that will reduce the potential for stormwater damage to life, public health, safety, property and the environment.
The MWRD has made significant investments in developing over 100 capital stormwater projects since it assumed the authority for stormwater management in 2004. These projects, which range in both size and scope, provide flood protection for thousands of homes, businesses and critical infrastructure. We’re also currently completing design or construction of large regional stormwater projects throughout the county. In addition, we have dozens of active partnerships through intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with local governmental organizations to address local flooding through the use of green and gray infrastructure improvements, as well as through the acquisition of flood-prone residential structures.
To learn about recent stormwater projects in your area, visit the Projects page. To learn more about the Stormwater Management Program, download our “Stormwater Management Program 2021 Annual Report.”
For years, stormwater management in Cook County was a patchwork of efforts by local, regional, state and federal agencies. Then in November of 2004, the Illinois General Assembly enacted Public Act 93-1049, allowing for the creation of a comprehensive stormwater management program in Cook County under the supervision of the MWRD. The Act required the MWRD to develop the Cook County Stormwater Management Plan (CCSMP), which provides the framework for the stormwater management program. This includes the program’s mission, goals and program elements. The MWRD’s Board of Commissioners adopted the plan in February of 2007.
With the adoption of the CCSMP and the implementation of the MWRD’s countywide stormwater management program, Cook County now has the means to address a range of stormwater management issues through proper watershed regulations and watershed planning.
Under this plan, the MWRD established Watershed Planning Councils and completed Detailed Watershed Plans for all six major watersheds in Cook County; initiated a Stormwater Management Capital Improvement Program; initiated a Small Streams Maintenance Program; and adopted and implemented the Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO).
The CCSMP was amended in July of 2014 to be consistent with P.A. 98-0652, which grants the MWRD authority to acquire flood-prone properties and to plan, implement, finance and operate local stormwater management projects. The MWRD entered into a Consent Decree with the Environmental Protection Agency in January 2014, which prompted establishment of the Green Infrastructure Program. Additionally, the Infiltration/Inflow Control Program was incorporated into the WMO in 2014. Through a variety of engineered solutions, both green and gray, and flood-prone property acquisitions, the MWRD’s Stormwater Management Program addresses both regional and local flooding problems throughout Cook County.