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On the Water Front

Hosted by Lynn Broaddus, Ph.D. MBA | Director, Environment Programs

Money Matters

Water is in an odd quandary relative to financial matters.  On the one hand, money is the quickest translator for people and is the way they can most easily understand the cost, rarity and importance of most items in life, and then make decisions relative to their own priorities and financial capabilities. Why, then, is there so little attention to these matters when it comes to water?

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Waste Not, Want Not: A Phosphorus Tale

As usual, Ben Franklin had it largely right with his sage advice: “Waste not, want not.” Take phosphorus, for instance.

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Clean Water is No Accident

Where were you when you first heard about Freedom Industry’s contamination of the Elk River and the 300,000 people who depend on it for daily water? I remember it well: I was driving east on I-94 toward Milwaukee, returning from an afternoon meeting. It caught my attention because my mother’s roots are in Charleston, W.V., and our family has a long, loved history with the Elk.

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The Fundamentals of Water in Four Very Readable Steps

If you care enough about water to read this blog, you need to read David Sedlak’s new book, Water 4.0. When David told me about his undertaking, I foolishly type-cast him as the erudite engineering professor that he is and imagined a dense textbook about water infrastructure that only a graduate engineering student could love.  This is one of the rare occasions that I’m anxious to tell you how very wrong I was.  

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"Urining" for a better way to go

My guess is that you’re probably pretty comfortable with the flush toilet. Having a clean, operational toilet and the privacy that comes with it is something you probably take for granted, right? The flush toilet long ago revolutionized the way we live, and was part of the advances in human health and sanitation that lengthened our lifespan and facilitated urban growth. It solved a number of society’s problems, but as we face growing resource constraints, is it time for us to reconsider how we go?

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A Great Environment for Craft Brewing

Who says sustainability is bad for the bottom line? It was Wisconsin’s own Sen. Gaylord Nelson, most famously known as the founder of Earth Day, who correctly stated, "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around." In other words, if you think big enough, there is only one balance sheet, and that’s the one for the planet as a whole.

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Resilient Utilities: It’s not just about technology

People sometimes ask me how we select our meeting topics. There isn’t any particular formula to how we do our work, but I like to tell people that we try to answer for ourselves: What is the question that isn’t being asked, but needs to be asked? In my head I have an image of a bead of water building up on a hard-packed sandy beach, but still held together by surface tension among the water molecules. If you scratch a little runway along one edge of the pooled water, it will begin to run out in that direction.

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Inspired by Innovation

It has been more than three years since the participants in The Johnson Foundation’s Freshwater Summit issued its Freshwater Call to Action, asking leaders from all sectors of society to address the challenges facing the United States’ freshwater resources. Paging back through the document from today’s vantage, it seems more prescient than ever.

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Water Geek ISO Los Angeles River

I love water. I love rivers.  And when I travel, it’s not unusual for me to want to find the local river or water body. As the former Executive Director of the Milwaukee Riverkeeper®, I have a special place in my heart for urban rivers and the challenges they and their human neighbors face. But in the mythos of urban rivers, the Los Angeles River is Mecca.   

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Great Lakes: Where’s the justice?

Do you dream of being Gwen Ifill or John Stewart? I don’t, but nonetheless I recently had a chance to moderate a panel as part of Great Lakes Week.

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