Milwaukee Water Commons

Milwaukee Water Commons is a cross-city network that fosters connection, collaboration and broad community leadership on behalf of our waters. We promote stewardship of, equitable access to and shared decision-making for our common waters.

Our Vision

Milwaukee is a model water city where we all have a stake and a say in the health of our waters, and we all share in their care and benefits.

Our Principles

Water is an essential element for all life on Earth.

Water belongs to no one and cannot be owned.

We recognize the gift of the Great Lakes; they have nurtured our ancestors and shaped us as a people and as a community. They continue to sustain us.

We all have a profound responsibility to protect and pass on clean and abundant fresh water to future generations.

Decisions about the care and and use of our waters must involve all of us.

November 17, 2017
Students living in off-campus housing may be subject to service lines made of lead, which could potentially contaminate water used to drink, cook and bathe.
November 17, 2017
Milwaukee has a serious problem with lead in our drinking water. Across the city, some 70,000 service lines are made of lead, contaminating the water we use to drink, cook and bathe.

Honoring the Water Congregation of the Great Spirit Water Ceremony - Milwaukee Water Commons

May 9, 2017
Honoring the Water Congregation of the Great Spirit Water Ceremony - Milwaukee Water Commons
February 21, 2017
Here's how we're doing that and how you can join in.
February 21, 2017
We believe everyone, everywhere, has a role to play in water’s protection and care. This belief is part of everything we do, and it’s why we started our Water School program in 2014.

2016 We Are Water - Milwaukee Water Commons

February 10, 2017
"Milwaukee’s identity is wrapped up in water.  When you explore history you look at how identity emerges and evolves.  Milwaukee’s here because of its harbor and it grew because of its rivers.  It’s really simple.  Very elemental. 
January 30, 2017
Water as a resource is very important here in Milwaukee. For years, that’s a message that Milwaukee Water Common‘s, and many others, have been trying to spread.
September 9, 2015
Kimberly C. Gaines is a photographer, media educator, and the chief curator of her own firm, sondai expressions creative, in Washington, DC.
August 29, 2015
Milwaukee Water Commons’ overarching goal is to activate and connect broad and sustained community leadership on behalf of our waters.
August 9, 2015
By Susan Bence Milwaukee Water Commons started up a year and a half ago. And, Melanie Ariens has played a pivotal role in the group's efforts to cultivate people’s desire to connect to and care for water.
Commons Water Artist Profile: Melanie Ariens
February 3, 2015
We asked Melanie a few questions about her relationship with Great Lakes Commons and our mission to establish the Great Lakes as a living commons. Here is what she told us: Why is water important in your work?
December 29, 2014
While we haven't been sending out many updates, there's been lots going on with the Commons Map and the Great Lakes Commons initiative. We also want to thank and welcome all our new members. Before the year is over, here's a brief update on some key news: New Map Gallery & Layers Power of the Crowd We Want Your Stories and more!
October 28, 2014
We need to define the future we want for these Lakes and stand up for it. The Great Lakes Commons Charter is central to that effort — and so are you. Out of our love for the Great Lakes and our responsibilities to future generations, we are calling for a renewed relationship and mode of governance for the Great Lakes Commons. We are asking you to join us.
“We Are Water” celebrates Milwaukee’s big drink
September 28, 2014
Below is a write-up about our We Are Water event that took place on August 3, 2014. Most Milwaukeeans value living in close proximity to a large body of water, but what are we willing to do to celebrate it? Improve it? Protect it?
Recap of We Are Water
August 12, 2014
By Eddee Daniel Months in the making, We Are Water: Beachfront Celebration of Milwaukee’s Water had its debut last night on Bradford Beach. The celebration took many forms, including recitations of poetry and spoken word, a dance performance, and a solemn spiritual ceremony led by members of a local Indian community.
Grassroot Effort Grows to Create Milwaukee Water Commons
August 8, 2014
By Susan Bence The idea is to get the entire community involved in Milwaukee’s freshwater future. Alexa Bradley started the conversation almost three years ago.
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