Water Equity Clearinghouse

Milwaukee Water Commons

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee Water Commons is a network of organizations across the city of Milwaukee that are collaborating to protect and sustainably manage the Great Lakes and other sources of water. Milwaukee Water Commons’ partners vary from faith-based organizations and hand drum music groups to public utilities and nonprofits.

The network seeks to promote equitable access, shared decision making, and stewardship of these waters. By fostering community leadership, Milwaukee Water Commons ensures that this gift of clean and abundant fresh water is passed on to the next generation of water stewards.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

Milwaukee Water Commons believes that their city has all the necessary components to be a truly equitable water city. To make this vision a reality, the Commons convenes and engages people in a number of public outreach initiatives called Water City 3.0. Over the last two years, more than 1,300 people have become involved in this collective vision through workshops, both in person and online, town halls, working teams, and interviews. This ultimately culminated in a Water City Agenda, which is meant to guide future initiatives and continue growing public involvement.

The Agenda highlights ten different focus areas that would steer Milwaukee to becoming a model city, including climate resilience, conservation, public health, racial justice and water equity, connections to food, public knowledge of water and watershed health, and empowerment of citizens to create solutions. To advance the agenda, Milwaukee Water Commons outlines six initiatives that include the creation of blue green jobs, ensuring water quality, prioritization of water education and recreation, and the implementation of green infrastructure.

In partnering with other organizations, Milwaukee Water Commons creates dedicated opportunities for water education, art making, and leadership development. The Commons works with individual organizations to provide the appropriate education, support, and resources that ultimately help cement the value of water stewardship in each participant.