Milwaukee Water Council's 10th Water Summit Celebrates its Past, Progress & Future

May 23, 2017

Ten years ago, Milwaukee’s first water summit took place under little fanfare. At the time, there was no Water Council and no Global Water Center according to Dean Amhaus, Water Council president.

"It was really a two-hour meeting that occurred and we probably had 60 or 80 people down at Discovery World," he recalls. At the time, the main concern of the small group was advancing water technology in a coherent and collaborative way. "How do we collectively come together between industry, academia, government, NGOs, to move that forward? We had no idea what that was, we just thought it was the right time and the right place and it was necessary to go ahead."

This week the Water Council celebrates its  10th anniversary Water Summit, which looks quite different from that initial two hour conversation. More than 200 water experts and decision-makers representing 19 states, Canada, Israel, and South Korea, have gathered here this week to discuss water security.

"Milwaukee as a whole is now being seen globally as a leader," says Amhaus. Although it is challenging to find the funds to support various projects and businesses in water technology, he sees the Water Council as a future "solution provider" nationally and globally.

The Water Council President & CEO Dean Anhaus (right) & authors Seth Siegel and Charles Fishman at the water leaders summit.
Credit Susan Bence

"Companies are coming here - they’re not just making a decision for right now, they’re planning three years, five years ahead.  And we’ve got to show that we’re matching their investment in terms of what we’re planning for them in the future, as well," says Beverly Ferrara of the Milwaukee 7, one of the Water Council’s 190 member groups.

"Any company that I have brought along to the global water center, it's really interesting to see how quickly a conversation on a trade show floor turns to actual plans once they come to the Water Council and they can see how their entry into the market can actually happen," she adds.

Milwaukee is filled with water challenges, but it is also filled with talent and a combined strength of large corporations and small entrepreneurs working together to help the community. WUWM will be bringing you new developments from the Water Council’s 10th Water Summit going on now Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.