22 Feb 2011
Milwaukee Wins U.S Water Prize

On February 22 the Clean Water America Alliance announced the winners of the 2011 U.S. Water Prize for watershed-based approaches toward water sustainability.  Milwaukee, one of the fourteen Innovating Cities in the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme was one of the five to receive this prestigious award.

The Clean Water America Alliance recognised the Milwaukee Water Council (Wis.) specifically, for “establishing public-private collaborations that advance water technology and promote economic development.  As a result, the Milwaukee area is becoming known as a ‘World Water Hub’.”

Executive Director of the Milwaukee Water Council, Dean Amhaus sees enormous benefit to the region from its sustained, collaborative focus on water.

“Milwaukee’s global leadership in water technology has offered the region a level of distinctiveness that every place is seeking to achieve.  This unique asset will clearly help in attracting water professionals to study and work in the region which in turn will be critical in the creation, expansion and attraction of water-related businesses.  The bottom line offers great economic development opportunities for our region along with building a tremendous level of pride for our citizens”.

Milwaukee are tackling fifteen complex projects related to water in its work as a lead Innovating City in the UN Global Compact Cities Programme. In addition to private sector and university collaboration, projects include urban aquaculture, phosphorus, stormwater, and sewage treatment, water policy and governance and community perception and use. These involve a number of lead organisations and cooperation across borders and sectors.

Given Milwaukee’s location on the Great Lakes, which holds twenty percent of the world’s freshwater supply, the importance of this collaborative work cannot be underestimated.

The U.S Water Prize is valuable, deserved recognition. Clean Water America Alliance President Ben Grumbles explained that the “five water champions reflect the diversity of America and set a shiny example for innovating, integrating, and collaborating from coast to coast to sustain America’s most precious liquid asset.” Other U.S. Water Prize winners include the City of Los Angeles, National Great Rivers Restoration & Education Center, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the Pacific Institute.

U.S. Water Prize winners will be honoured in a special ceremony on May 9, 2011, at Washington, D.C.

A recent UNGCCP visit with Milwaukee Water leaders. From left: Claus Dunkelberg (Milwaukee Water Council); Professor Sam White (University of Winsconsin Milwaukee); Elizabeth Ryan (UN Global Compact Cities Programme); Paul Krajniak (Discovery World); Dean Amhaus (Milwaukee Water Council)

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