A top International Water Association exec says Milwaukee will be the site of the group’s North America office for two reasons.

One reason, IWA’s Keith Robertson said at the Water Summit in Milwaukee yesterday, is the number of large companies in the area dealing with water issues, from Badger Meter to MillerCoors. IWA, he said, needs to strengthen its industry engagement efforts and hear from companies on “what some of their needs are.”

The other reason is the innovation happening in the area, Robertson said, with efforts to develop water tech startups and academic undertakings such as UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences and Marquette University’s Water Quality Center.

“The Water Council’s focus on innovation aligns with what we want to do in the U.S.A.,” Robertson said. “We don’t have the answer yet. We’re still looking at how this fits in, [but] the challenges of tomorrow won’t be solved with the solutions from yesterday.”

The IWA’s North America office will boost connections between the U.S. and other parts of the world in an effort to share best practices on both ends, Robertson said. It’s part of IWA’s vision of having a “water-wise world,” he added, in which people are more aware of water sustainability and replenishing resources.

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