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City of Milwaukee agencies play a leading role in providing healthy drinking water, managing storm water, and enhancing our water assets. And the City collaborates with other units of government, business, academic institutions, and civic organizations to reach our shared Water Centric City goals.

The City of Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office, or ECO, strives to make Milwaukee a world class eco-city. ECO develops practical solutions that improve people’s lives and the economy while working to protect and restore the natural ecosystems that support our long-term prosperity.  We collaborate with the community, develop global partnerships, offer award-winning programs, and implement the City’s Refresh Milwaukee sustainability plan.

ECO along with the City’s Department of City Development, Department of Public Works, and Water Works are all leaders in implementing new water solutions at the municipal level.

Founded on a century of discovering inventive solutions for water issues, The Water Council was established as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2009 by Milwaukee-area businesses, education and government leaders to align the regional freshwater research community with water-related industries. Headquartered in the Global Water Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Water Council links together global water technology companies, innovative water entrepreneurs, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGO), acclaimed academic research programs and some of the nation’s brightest and most energetic water professionals.

The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences is the only graduate school of freshwater science in the U.S. and the third in the world. Its mission is to advance fundamental and strategic science and train the next generation of freshwater professionals to inform policy, improve management, and promote the health and sustainability of freshwater systems worldwide.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is a regional government agency that provides water reclamation and flood management services for about 1.1 million people in 28 communities in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Its main job is to help protect Lake Michigan. MMSD serves 411 square miles that cover all, or segments of, six watersheds. MMSD has been a national leader in promoting green infrastructure strategies and has produced Milorganite® for over 90 years. Milorganite® is one of the oldest branded fertilizers on the market and is composed of heat-dried microbes that have digested the organic matter in wastewater.

The Fund for Lake Michigan is a regional funding organization that helps sustain Lake Michigan on behalf of the people and places that depend on it. They provide grants to local projects and organizations on a range of topics including beach, stream and habitat restorations, green infrastructure, monitoring and watershed planning, research, and environmental education. The Fund for Lake Michigan has been a primary funder of the Water Centric City for the past five years

The long-term goal of Harbor District, Inc. is to achieve a world-class revitalization of Milwaukee’s harbor that sets the standard for how waterfronts work—environmentally, economically, and socially—for the next century. Harbor District Inc is the organization that is making this vision a reality.

Milwaukee Water Commons is a cross-city network that fosters connection, collaboration and broad community leadership on behalf of our common waters. The Commons promote stewardship of, equitable access to and shared decision-making for our common waters.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper is a science-based advocacy organization working for swimmable, fishable rivers throughout the Milwaukee River Basin. Its mission is to protect, improve and advocate for water quality, riparian wildlife habitat, and sound land management in the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic River Watersheds. Milwaukee Riverkeeper envisions a future in which people from all walks of life can enjoy the healthy waterways of the Milwaukee River Basin. Riverkeeper is a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition ensuring clean water and strong communities.

Marquette University supports water related research and policy. Marquette University's Law School has a Water Law and Policy Initiative that seeks to assess the legal and regulatory aspects of water policy, to pursue opportunities for information exchange and collaboration within and outside the University, and to provide the means for the public to become better informed on legal and policy aspects of critical water-related issues. Marquette also has a Water Quality Center that works in environmental engineering and water resources engineering. Example projects include anaerobic biotechnology to convert industrial waste to energy; nitrogen and phosphorus recovery from wastewater for agricultural applications; and destruction of micropollutants in drinking water.

The Water Council is the official North American regional partner for the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), an international multi-stakeholder organization dedicated to enhancing water stewardship.  AWS North America’s mission is to enhance and build awareness of the AWS global water stewardship system by improving the sustainability of North American freshwater resources and the competitiveness of North American water users and managers through implementation of the global, voluntary International Water Stewardship Standard. The AWS Standard functions as a strategic framework for sites to identify and mitigate water-related risks at specific sites or within supply chains; identify and address shared-water challenges; and create shared-value by improving the sustainability of North America’s freshwater resources.

The University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute (UW-WRI) promotes research, training and information dissemination to effectively confront water resources problems. It was formed in 1964 and is one of 54 such institutes at land grant universities in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. The institutes are the primary link between water experts at the nation’s universities and those who manage and use water. Collectively, the programs are known as the Water Resources Research Institute Program, which is authorized by the Water Resources Research Act of 1984. The program is administered by the U.S. Geological Survey. The UW-WRI is housed in the Aquatic Sciences Center (ASC) of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. ASC also houses the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, which has a complementary mission of research, education and outreach related to water – the coastlines and estuaries of the Great Lakes.

The Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc (Sweet Water) is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to restoring the Greater Milwaukee watersheds to conditions that are healthy for swimming and fishing. They bring diverse partners together and provide the leadership and innovation necessary to protect and restore our shared water resources.

Collaboration is Key

Milwaukee’s success as a water centric city is built on collaboration.  Government, academia, businesses, and non-profits are all working together to make Milwaukee a world class center of water innovation and restoration.

The partners listed on this page are only a sample of the many organizations that are helping make Milwaukee a Water Centric City.