SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — For the first time in almost 40 years, the State of Illinois has updated a blueprint to address key water-related challenges in the state.

The updated Illinois State Water Plan differs from previous plans in that it intentionally strives to integrate social and environmental justice perspectives into recommendations in every section to better serve economically and socially marginalized individuals and communities in the state. It also addresses climate change impacts for the first time.

“Like throwing a rock into a lake, implemented actions of the plan and the resulting plan accomplishments over the next seven to 10 years will have ripple effects in Illinois for the next 50 years,” said Loren Wobig, director of IDNR’s Office of Water Resources and chair of the State Water Plan Task Force. “These effects are necessary to address a changing climate, economy, landscape and social structure.”

The updated plan spotlights 13 key water issues and focuses on improving the resiliency, sustainability, public safety, stewardship, economic development and understanding of water resources of Illinois to improve the lives of people living in the state. It also provides a seven-year-focus strategic plan that contains 147 actionable and measurable recommendations for future inclusive and equitable state water resource development in the state.

Directors and leaders from nine state agencies and programs have signed a letter of support for the recommendations in the report, including the IDNR, Illinois EPA, IDOT and IDPH. However, it still needs to receive approval from the Illinois General Assembly to be implemented.

The full report can be accessed by clicking here.