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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced the launch of a $50 million fund that will support infrastructural projects designed to improve systems to capture, store and filter stormwater.
The implementation of the program is set to start this fall and will see the city's water and sewer systems upgraded over the next five years. An annual fund of $10 million will be allocated to reduce the pollution flowing into the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, thanks to tested measures including permeable pavement and the planting of more plants and trees.
According to the mayor's office, this is among the biggest voluntary investments in a U.S. city ever made. The implementation of these projects will lead to an extra 10 million gallons of natural stormwater being stored by Chicago's water system and eventually will cut runoffs by 250 million gallons annually.
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The scheme will consist of two main parts. The first one will see the implementation of projects that include green stormwater infrastructure. A specifically appointed committee will review the proposals and will select priority areas. The second stage will be researching the impact of climate change on the city and will include projections and plans for the future.
Mayor Emanuel commented that flooding can have a terrible impact on cities and their residents, so investing in green infrastructure is essential to prevent this and reduce risks for the families living in Chicago.