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This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. This “Golden” anniversary celebrates a legislative act that impacts us each every day. The Clean Water Act is the reason we have clean water to drink and rivers that do not catch fire. We all take this for granted.
Fifty years is a long time. Many areas of the Country are facing extreme droughts, flooding, or infrastructure that is failing. These water stressors will have significant impacts on our health and the lives we lead. While it is important to celebrate these golden years, it is also important to learn from others on how to partner to protect our water resources.
Over the last 20 years, the leadership exemplified by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) has transformed Milwaukee into one of the nation’s water management leaders through our efforts to treat wastewater, reduce overflows to Lake Michigan, use of natural infrastructure to manage water where it falls, removing concrete from our rivers, and taking aggressive steps to remove 100-year-old sediments from the bottom our waterways. MMSD has done this through partnerships with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and a diverse contingent of local groups who care for our waterways.
In recognition of this collaborative work, Milwaukee is hosting three large conferences this Fall. The US Water Alliance’s One Water Summit, The Water Council’s Water Leaders Summit, and the Healing our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition’s HOW Conference. These gatherings will bring over 1,000 people from around the world with a focus on collaborative approaches that integrate nature with our urban setting.
MMSD is also inviting the community to Milwaukee’s annual Doors Open event to celebrate MMSD’s innovative role in advancing the goals of the Clean Water Act.
As with any 50-year relationship, it is good to stop to reflect on what we have all accomplished. This Fall, we are bringing the world to Milwaukee to do just that!
Be Safe. Be Understanding. Be Kind.
Kevin L. Shafer, P.E.
Executive Director - Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
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