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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

The MWRD's Stormwater Management Program has made significant investments in building partnerships and developing projects to address flooding throughout Cook County. The documents, reports, and plans on this page summarize MWRD's commitment to mitigate flooding and protect our water quality.

Stormwater Annual Report


This report contains information on MWRD’s stormwater management program, including yearly highlights, completed projects, and ongoing work through our various programs, such as green infrastructure, stormwater partnerships, and Space to Grow.

2023 Stormwater Annual Report


NPDES Permits Consent Decree Report


The MWRD provides yearly updates on its work to protect water quality and health by preventing combined sewer overflows. This includes completion of the Tunnel and Reservoir Program, construction of green infrastructure, monitoring water quality throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System, and removal of floating debris.

2023 NPDES Permits Consent Decree Annual Report


Watershed plans

The MWRD collaborated with local government stakeholders to identify and prioritize regional stormwater projects and water quality issues for each of the six watersheds in Cook County. The following types of plans were developed:

Detailed Watershed Plan (DWP) goals are to document stormwater problem areas, evaluate existing watershed conditions, produce relevant data on flood events, estimate damages, and evaluate potential solutions.

Watershed Based Plans (WBPs) give an overview of the water quality conditions in each watershed, and outlines measures that need to be implemented to restore and protect water quality. The plans were developed in partnership with other organizations, using nine key elements identified by the U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA that need to be addressed to achieve cleaner water.

Archived documents and reports

In 2004, the State of Illinois enacted a law that gave the MWRD the authority to develop a county-wide plan and program to manage stormwater. The Cook County Stormwater Management Plan (CCSMP) enabled the MWRD address a range of stormwater management issues on behalf of the people of Cook County through proper watershed regulations and watershed planning. The plan was adopted by the MWRD in 2007 and amended in 2014.

As a result of the CCSMP, the MWRD established Watershed Planning Councils, completed Detailed Watershed Plans for all six major watersheds in Cook County, initiated a capital improvement program, adopted the Watershed Maintenance Ordinance (WMO) and established a Small Streams Maintenance Program. 

In 2014, the amended CCSMP gave the MWRD the ability to plan, implement, and finance local stormwater management projects, including the acquisition of flood-prone properties.

Cook County Stormwater Management Plan

In 2014, the MWRD entered a Consent Decree with the U.S. EPA that mandates compliance with the Clean Water Act and its discharge permit system. 

EPA v MWRD Consent Decree