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Sustainable Water Management at Home

Milwaukee is a city built on water. With three rivers and a Great Lake, water plays a key role in the city’s history, identity, and economy. Through close collaboration with businesses, academia, and civic organizations, the City of Milwaukee is leading globally in sustainable water management. We will continue to develop solutions to restore our water resources and grow our economy around water technology and recreation.

Global Leadership

In the 21st Century, access to a sustainable supply of clean drinking water and smart management of our water resources will be one of the defining challenges not just for Milwaukee, but for cities around the world. Through its Water Centric City initiative, the City of Milwaukee will showcase leadership in managing natural water resource assets in a sustainable and resilient way.


Water has many facets. Clean drinking water is essential for life and industry. Clean water bodies attract people and real estate investment. They support fish and aquatic life. During extreme storm events made more common by climate change, water can threaten people and property. To thrive, cities need to manage all elements of water. The Water Centric City initiative identifies seven principles for water centric cities:

These seven principles are consistent with the International Water Association's Water-Wise Cities ​seventeen principles, which Milwaukee has also endorsed.


The Water Centric City initiative is a program of the City of Milwaukee's Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO). ECO strives to make Milwaukee a world class eco-city. ECO develops award winning programs that improve people’s lives and the economy while protecting and restoring the natural ecosystems that support our long term prosperity. ECO also implements the City’s ReFresh MKE sustainability plan


The City of Milwaukee’s Water Centric Cities Initiative recognizes the importance of water as essential to a sustainable and resilient future, and Water Centric Cities showcase leadership in managing natural water resource assets in a sustainable and resilient way.