Milwaukee's 9th Annual Water Summit Tries a New Approach to Water Solutions

Jun 14, 2016

Water policy makers, scientists, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs are all together this week in Milwaukee. And while that’s not so unusual, given global discussions around water security and climate change, the Milwaukee-based Water Council is trying something new as it convenes its 9th annual Water Summit.

Instead of the typical breakout session format, the organizers are trying something called “One Room. One Moderator. One Water.”

Experts will present on topics such as health, economics and infrastructure – but all through a water lens.

It’s the job of moderator Charles Fishman to engage attendees in compelling conversations and encourage action after discussion.

"Success often requires some hard decisions and wrestling with people, and that is absolutely true in water," Fishman states. "So I wanted to put in front of this audience some people who have done great things, but who are still in the middle of the fight...and  can say to people, 'Yes, we had to raise rates. Yes, we had to dig up streets. Yes, we had to replace one kind of treatment plant with another kind of treatment plant and here is how we did it.' So that the folks in the room, I hope from all of these panels, will walk off with real stories and real examples that inspire them and that they can then take back to every corner of both the Midwest and the rest of the U.S. and fight those fights themselves."

Fishman is a former metro and national reporter for the Washington Post. He wrote both the New York Times bestseller The Wal-Mart Effect and, in 2011, The Big Thirst – The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.