The report is aimed at both businesses and residents and urges the use of high-efficiency washers, increased water metering, more-realistic pricing and more use of water recycling measures.

The group’s chairwoman, Bonnie Thomson Carter said: “It is clear that continued rapid population growth and economic activity will put a strain on the region’s current supply and significant shortages could result without co-ordinated action to implement this water plan.”

The plan is being co-ordinated by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and is directed at state, regional, county, municipal, and other public agencies responsible for ensuring adequate supplies of clean water. CMAP plans to hold a Metropolitan Chicago water-supply summit in March to begin implementation of the water conservation plan.