In our “Uncharted Waters” series, The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting took at look at what’s behind the recent spike in irrigation, the lack of regulations around groundwater and stalled water supply planning efforts and the impact this will have on Illinois in the future.
Almost 1,000 pivots have been installed in counties statewide in the past four years as a result of higher crop prices and the demand of seed corn companies, an almost 20 percent increase in overall irrigation that equals the use of more than half a million people each year.
While Illinois is not currently facing a water crisis, highly populated areas with high growth — namely Chicagoland and Champaign County — are undergoing some levels of water conflict, partly because of agricultural irrigation. The State Water Survey projects that in the coming decades, Illinois will require 20 to 50 percent more water. But planning for the increase has been inadequate, largely due to a halt in planning because of the ongoing state budget crisis, government water experts say. In 2006, then-Governor Rod Blagojevich issued an executive order that the water survey and Illinois Department of Natural Resources would develop state and regional water supply plans for 10 regions of the state. However, only three of those plans were completed, and two were being developed when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources suspended all regional water supply planning activities in March 2015 because of a lack of funding from the state legislature.
Xochitl Sandoval is proud of her Native American heritage. She is not proud, however, of her campus’s attitude toward her Native American heritage.
Sandoval, a recent graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, follows the Nahua tradition of her mother’s heritage and has a Rararmuri background from her father. Through volunteering with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Sandoval became interested in learning more about her indigenous culture.
The first time Native American Ivan Dozier Jr. saw the Chief perform was at a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign football game that his father took him to when Dozier was a child. He said he was bored and restless. At halftime, Dozier remembered, he got up to get something to eat.
Illinois public housing authorities are responsible for providing affordable housing to low-income residents located within their district. Some authorities – such as the housing authority in Champaign – serve an entire county. Others – such as The East St. Louis Housing Authority – are charged with only serving a city.