Three Wisconsin non-profit organizations launched a new public awareness campaign – It’s Your Water, Wisconsin – encouraging individuals and groups to serve as advocates for water protection in the state. Started by the Central Sands Water Action Coalition, River Alliance of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Lakes, the campaign aims to create connections between the network of people, businesses and organizations working on water-related issues in Wisconsin – from groundwater to polluted runoff to shore land development to drinking water.
“When it comes to our water, we’re all upstream and downstream from one another – we’re truly all in this together,” says Allison Werner, River Alliance of Wisconsin, speaking on behalf of the three groups leading the initiative. “We felt a critical need to start a conversation that avoids divisive rhetoric and instead underscores the importance of balanced and reasonable use of our shared water resources for everyone.”
It’s Your Water, Wisconsin sets forth a declaration of principles for water in Wisconsin and asks citizens, groups, businesses and organizations to complete a brief online form to express their support. The declaration of principles states:
- Every single person in Wisconsin requires and deserves safe, clean drinking water.
- Wisconsin’s water belongs to everyone. There should be no conflict between business needs and public needs.
- With diverse landscapes and natural resources, local governments and constituents must have a role in creating and implementing policies to protect the unique waters in their jurisdictions appropriately.
- Clean and plentiful water that supports a healthy habitat for fisheries, wildlife, residents and visitors is essential for a strong tourism industry and a vital economy in Wisconsin.
The campaign grew out of several areas of concern prevalent among environmental protection groups, the media and the legislature in recent years. These include unsafe levels of lead, nitrates or bacteria in public drinking water; a heavy reliance on outdoor tourism and waterfront property for income and enjoyment; and Wisconsin’s long history of just public process and environmental stewardship. It’s Your Water, Wisconsin aims to educate, increase citizen engagement and inspire action in Madison.
“We are excited to bring together a chorus of positive voices and to offer a simple mechanism for participation,” says Werner. “Water is the cornerstone of our lifestyle and our economy: water for business, water for agriculture, water for recreation and water for drinking. We believe in, and are working toward, a public right to clean and plentiful water, and protecting this shared resource for all of us and for many generations to come.”
For more information, visit itsyourwaterwisconsin.org.