In conjunction with the White House Water Summit, Mayor Tom Barrett announced that the International Water Association (IWA) is establishing its North American Regional Office at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee. The IWA is the leading global network of water professionals working to deliver equitable and sustainable water management worldwide.

Milwaukee’s academic and industry expertise, coupled with The Water Council’s leadership, strongly influenced the IWA’s decision to expand its support for North America’s water professionals and locating in the world’s fastest growing water hub.

“As ‘America’s Water Centric City,’ Milwaukee is fueling the water innovation marketplace through world-class collaborative partnerships between industry, universities and government,” said Mayor Barrett, a member of The Water Council’s Board of Directors. “It became clear after the IWA Board of Directors met in Milwaukee in June 2014 that it makes sense to unite the world’s most important professional water association with the world’s leading water technology cluster.”

The IWAs global network of water professionals includes over 9,000 members in 130 countries, with offices situated worldwide in cities as diverse as London, The Hague, Nairobi, Dakar, Bangkok, Beijing and Singapore. Its membership works across the full water cycle and includes scientists and researchers, water utilities and large water using industries, nonprofits and technology providers.

“The water sector is facing unprecedented challenges, overcoming these requires new partnerships and new thinking,” said Dr. Ger Bergkamp, IWA Executive Director. “New science and technology must be made available to ensure policy makers and water practitioners can apply new approaches. The IWA connects science, policy and practice, and by joining with Milwaukee’s Global Water Center we aim to facilitate a wider cooperation between the United States and the international water community.”

Mayor Barrett and the City of Milwaukee will join the White House Water Summit on World Water Day on Tuesday, March 22, to raise awareness of the importance of water and highlight challenges and solutions to problems associated with water. Panel discussions from commitment institutions will focus in on building sustainable water future.

As part of its commitment to the White House Water Summit, the City of Milwaukee is also announcing a new formalized partnership with The Water Council, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University. Together, these institutions will:

– Build and/or attract over 75 water-focused entrepreneurs and small businesses to Milwaukee over the next five years.

– Train up to 400 students annually with water-focused education qualifications through Milwaukee-area universities.

– Implement the Alliance for Water Stewardship International Water Stewardship Standard at 10% of the businesses in the Milwaukee region by working with the local private sector.

Collaborate on practical water research, using the MetroLab framework, to address municipal and global water challenges.

“IWA’s decision to locate their North American office in Milwaukee reaffirms the global leadership of this region’s water technology industry, and enables The Water Council and our members to expand our reach to water professionals across the world,” stated Rich Meeusen, co-chair of The Water Council and chairman, president and CEO of Badger Meter. “It is equally exciting to have the City of Milwaukee’s continued commitment to establishing the world’s most water centric city, and embrace water and our region’s water industry as a major driver in shaping the future of Milwaukee.”

The International Water Association is a unique, global knowledge hub for water professionals and anyone concerned about the future of water. It has a sixty-year heritage connecting water professionals worldwide to find solutions to the world’s water challenges. As a nonprofit organization with members in more than 130 countries, the IWA connects scientists to practitioners and communities so that pioneering research delivers sustainable solutions. It further fosters technological innovation, supports sustainability and drives best practice through international frameworks and standards.

The City of Milwaukee is working to become a world-class eco-city by implementing practical solutions that are good for both the environment and economy, and through global partnerships built on sustainability principles. The City of Milwaukee has invested in supporting the water industry through major investments in the Reed Street Yards, where the Global Water Center is located. The Reed Street Yards is one of four eco-industrial districts in the City of Milwaukee, with the others being the Menomonee Valley, the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, and the Harbor District. The City is also committed to working with local universities including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University to jointly research, develop and deploy sustainable water solutions at the municipal level. Milwaukee is well positioned to being the leading water-centric city.

The Water Council was established in 2009 by Milwaukee-area businesses, education and government leaders. The nonprofit organization, consisting of more than 180 members, links together global water technology companies, innovative water entrepreneurs, acclaimed academic research programs and, most importantly, some of the nation’s brightest and most energetic water professionals. The Water Council is capturing the attention of the world and transforming the Milwaukee region into a World Water Hub for freshwater research, economic development and education.