After his return from Washington, D.C, The Water Council announced that its President and CEO, Dean Amhaus, participated in the opening “Technology as a Solution” panel for a roundtable at the White House focused on water innovation that was held on December 15th. David E J Garman PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor Water Technology R&D, Founding Dean School of Freshwater Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee also attended the invite-only roundtable.
The White House Roundtable on Water Innovation aimed to challenge stakeholders to increase innovation and investments in water technologies; a topic that has been garnering increased attention and support in Milwaukee for nearly a decade through the leadership of The Water Council and companies such as A. O. Smith Corporation and Badger Meter. Amhaus commended the President and the White House for elevating the priority of water innovation within the Administration, “It is clear that water quality and quantity issues are gaining increasing national and international attention. The White House is now ratcheting up its engagement.”
In July 2014, Amhaus co-led a private sector and university delegation with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to the White House to brief key White House staff on the Water Council’s progress and to emphasize the critical importance that the White House increase its focus on water technologies and innovation. The delegation also highlighted Milwaukee’s leadership and unique public-private partnership focusing on water issues.
In conjunction with the White House Roundtable, the U.S. Department of Interior announced plans for a newNatural Resource Investment Center for the purpose of luring private capital to help meet the country’s massive water infrastructure and conservation needs. Deputy Interior Secretary Mike Connor explained, “It will focus on increasing investment in infrastructure, building market-based systems that allow water to be transferred between farms, cities, tribes and nonprofits, and encouraging private investment in habitat conservation.”
Jim Stern, Executive Vice President for A. O. Smith Corporation and a board member of The Water Council, applauded the increased prioritization of water innovation by the Administration and stated that “by investing in research and development, we can lower the cost and increase the availability of new fresh water supplies, and improve the efficient use of current supplies while saving consumers money.”
The Roundtable on Water Innovation and announcement of the new Natural Resource Investment Center are part of an overall comprehensive strategy within the White House to deal with the growing water resource challenges facing the United States, including drought, climate change, increased use, environmental needs and declining aquifers.
“The 'game changing innovations' that are being developed by Milwaukee’s water technology businesses and university research programs in such areas as novel sensors and assessment and protection of water resources closely align with the future needs of US water management,” said Garman.
Roundtable participants from the Administration included the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House National Economic Council, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, as well as other water industry leaders.
About The Water Council
The Water Council was established in 2009 by Milwaukee-area businesses, education and government leaders. The nonprofit organization, consisting of more than 170 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. Statewide, the water technology industry has more than 200 companies in Wisconsin, over 20 academic partners with water-based curriculum, and water-technology exports growing by 7.4 percent in 2014.
About The University Of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
As Wisconsin’s only public urban research university, UWM has established an international reputation for excellence in research, community engagement, teaching and entrepreneurism. On an operating budget of $705M, UWM educates more than 28,000 students and is an engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UWM a “2015 Best in the Midwest” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. Its economic impact is more than $1.5B per year in Wisconsin alone.