The State of Illinois is endowed with rich water resources. The water resource in Illinois comprises diverse sources such as surface water bodies, namely lakes, rivers, reservoirs and so on; groundwater that can be collected from different sorts of aquifers and shallow wells. Illinois’ diverse water resources

aquifer is a layer of rocks underground where water can occur. The water here can be removed to the surface using water wells.The main aquifer areas in Illinois have a span of 32, 400 square miles (59% of the State). This includes close to 11,800 square miles of area that overlaps aquifers at diverse depths.

About 18,600 square miles of the State (33%) are occupied by shallow aquifers (8,300 square miles. These are recognized as highly prone to contamination underground.

There are as many as 87,110 miles of interior streams in the State. The major rivers include Rock, Des Plaines, Fox, Illinois, Kankakee, Kaskaskia, Sangamon, Cache, Bing Muddy, and Vermilion.

Inland lakes

There are over 87,900 lakes and pound in the State of Illinois. Of these, 3,041 have an area of six acres or more. Note that as many as 75% of the inland lakes are artificial and include:

  • Manmade reservoirs with an area up to 26,000 acres
  • Streams that have been dammed and side-channel impoundments
  • Borrow pit, strip mine and lakes that have been excavated.

Utilization of water resources

In Illinois, water is used for different objectives including residential, industrial and commercial purposes. For residential purpose, both and private and municipal wells are sourced.

To ensure optimal utilization, to protect ecology, the government has planned well the Water Resource in Illinois. This is important to ensure equality between various competing users of water.

Here are the conservation measures undertaken by the government of Illinois, United States. It’s enlightening to discuss the following points:

Measures to protect the Great lakes

The Great lakes in the State bring a large volume of water to a great majority of people across the middle and west part of the State. The waterways in these areas are a significant source of livelihood.

The welfare measures undertaken by the government include eradication measures for Asian carp to improve the fish collection, biological control efforts, and population reduction.

All these measures are aimed to prevent the bypass of Asian carp between Chicago sanitary and River Des Plaines and ship canal (CSSC) and Michigan and Illinois canal and CSSC when there is a high level of flooding.

Allocation of Lake Michigan water

Of the Great Lakes in Illinois, Lake Michigan is the third biggest and is largest of freshwater bodies in the United States.

Built in 1874 and sealed in 1938, the Inner Harbor Breakwater is leaking water from the Michigan Lake to the Chicago River.

To address the withdrawing watershed problem, the Chicago Harbor Basin Cuttoff Wall project was commissioned in 2001.

William G. Stratton Dam, McHenry

In 1960, the Stratton Lock came into being on the Fox Chain of Lakes in McHenry. In summer more than 24,000 boats ply through the Lock from and to Fox River downstream.

However, the capacity of the Lock is lower and is unable to meet the peak demand.

Further, the sluice gates of the dam were constructed in 1939 and have become rundown. The new gates are likely to allow better flow and regulation of water to mitigate flooding.

The Flood Control Act, 1945

The Flood Control Act, 1945 (615 ILCS 15) confers the essential legal authority on the Government of Illinois to take part in the efforts to improve the quality of the rivers in the State.

The objective is to regulate and control floods and low flows of water.

The government also plays a key role in Flood Control Assistance programs in urban areas and offers technical advice, referral.

It also conducts studies and plays a key role in the preservation of steam program.

Regulatory issues

The office of Water Resources issues work permits in and along the lakes, rivers, and streams for activities in and along public waters. This includes Lake Michigan for construction and maintaining the dams.

The other activities of the Resource Management are the Lake Michigan Water Allocation, National Flood Insurance Program, mitigation of flooding and protecting the Water Resource in Illinois.


The government endeavors to allocate water resources to ensure equitable distribution of the water resource in Illinois without any discrimination among the competing needs and users. The authorities also undertake to educate the common people to understand the importance of conserving and protecting the water resources so that it could better serve ecology.