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With the adoption of the Cook County Stormwater Management Plan (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.


Under this plan, the MWRD established Watershed Planning Councils that represent communities located within major watersheds in Cook County. The councils communicate the needs and interests of the members of the public and local governments to the MWRD.


Detailed Watershed Plans were completed for all six major watersheds in Cook County, which include Cal-Sag Channel, Little Calumet River, Lower Des Plaines River, Poplar Creek, Upper Salt Creek and the North Branch of the Chicago River. 


The MWRD has made significant investments in developing over 100 capital stormwater projects since it assumed the authority for stormwater management from the Illinois General Assembly in 2004. Projects provide flood protection for thousands of homes, businesses and critical infrastructure. The MWRD Stormwater Management Program is 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. Click here for a map of stormwater management infrastructure projects. 


While separate from our Stormwater Management Program, one of the MWRD’s largest projects is its Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), or “Deep Tunnel.” As one of the country’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control, TARP is a system of deep, large diameter tunnels and vast reservoirs designed to reduce flooding, improve water quality in Chicago area waterways and protect Lake Michigan from pollution caused by sewer overflows. Click here for more information about TARP.


Read about some of our recent stormwater projects highlighted below. Click here for more information about the MWRD’s Stormwater Management Program.


Help keep our waterways free of debris. If you see debris or obstructions in the waterways, notify us immediately. Report the incident online via our CIR form