Annual Report

Letter from the Chairman

2021 was a defining year for The Water Council and an encouraging sign of things to come for our organization. As the world started to return to a “new normal” following the pandemic, The Water Council forged ahead, strengthening existing programs, developing new concepts and continuing to provide thought leadership around solving global water challenges.

This year brought major changes to our water stewardship offerings. After seven years, our relationship with the Alliance for Water Stewardship came to a close as we prepared to introduce a new water stewardship program, WAVE. This program – launched in early 2022 – will help companies develop enterprise-wide stewardship plans, take meaningful action on water and have their efforts independently verified. In fall 2021, we also introduced our Water Champions program, which gives non-water technology companies the opportunity to support our work driving freshwater innovation and advancing water stewardship.

On the innovation side, we welcomed the first cohort to our BREW 2.0 Post-Accelerator. Building on our previous BREW – Business, Research & Entrepreneurship in Water – we re-engineered the program to meet the needs of late-stage water technology startups. We also added a new sponsor, American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. Our Tech Challenge added a new sponsor, Xylem, and for the first time issued three challenge topics in fall 2021. Xylem and Beckhoff Automation also opened offices in our Global Water Center in Milwaukee this year, greatly enhancing our growing partnerships.

We added new staff and board members in 2021 to help us grow our important work. I’m proud of the team we have in place and excited to see what they will do in the years to come. Stay tuned!


Jim Stern

Jim Stern

Executive Vice President, A. O. Smith Corporation
Chairman, The Water Council


The Water Council promotes innovation in the water technology sector through matchmaking, member services, networking and our signature innovation programs: BREW 2.0 Post Accelerator, Tech Challenge and Pilot Program.

Brew 2.0

After six rounds of our BREW (Business, Research and Entrepreneurship in Water) Accelerator, we re-engineered the program in 2020 after seeing a need to support late-stage or in-market water technology startups focused on “sales and scale.” BREW 2.0 is our next-gen accelerator program designed to help promising water tech innovators build momentum on their path to market adoption success. We launched the program in 2021 with a strong cohort of 12 companies from three countries. Companies participated in several weeks of expert-led training and coaching on topics such as culture, marketing and international growth. A virtual pitch event was attended by 140 people from around the world. These companies have seen real growth and promising accomplishments. For example, Aqua Membranes was backed by computer memory and data storage company Micron, while Divirod closed a million-dollar investment round led by Thin Line Capital Fund I and GoHub Ventures. BREW 2.0 was lauded in 2021 as a finalist in the Wisconsin Inno Fire Awards from the Milwaukee Business Journal. In 2021 the program welcomed new sponsor American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact.

2021 BREW 2.0 COHORT

Aqua Membranes

Spiral-wound water membrane solutions


Unmanned aerial vehicles for high-resolution harmful algal bloom monitoring

Capta Hydro

Integrated hardware and software IoT solutions for water distribution management

Copperstone Technologies

Autonomous environmental monitoring robots for sampling, measurement and surveillance services

Corncob Inc.

Industrial wastewater filtration technology


Satellite water infrastructure and analytics technology


Eco-friendly solution that destroys organic pollutants


100 percent green, ultra-low-cost water filtration media


Bio-electrode sensor technology that provides real-time microbial performance monitoring


Buoyancy-based membrane filtration systems


Sensors and cloud-based software for real-time monitoring and insights for water distribution networks

Water Warriors

Water treatment solution for phosphorus runoff

Tech Challenge

Our Tech Challenge empowers anyone with a freshwater technology innovation to vet their concept with industry professionals from leading corporations and compete for a cash prize and the opportunity to work with a sponsoring corporation to turn that innovation into a viable commercial product. In 2021 we added Xylem to previous sponsors A. O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter and Watts Water Technologies. We also issued three challenge topics for the first time in fall 2021. Of the applicants in 2021, 90% were previously unknown to the sponsors. 2021 Winners Spring Reducing scale, corrosion and fouling for pipes, tanks, valves and other equipment: PANI/Ran Suckeveriene (Zemach, Israel) Fall Reducing operating expenses in aerobic wastewater treatment: CAVinTace (Istanbul, Turkey) Internet of Things-enabled water quality sensing: Anthony Dichiara (Seattle, Washington) Microbial control in distribution systems and buildings: Vienna Water Monitoring Solutions/ColiMinder (Vienna, Austria)


Pilot Program

The Pilot Program helps water technology innovators take products from prototype to practical application by providing technical support services, funding and potential testing sites to validate cutting-edge products.

2021 Pilot Recipients

Bloom Optix/HAB Alert

(Utica, New York) – HABAlert would be the first cost-effective technology for identifying and counting cyanobacteria, which cause harmful algal blooms.

Tomorrow Water/Proteus

(Anaheim, California) – The Proteus up-flow media filter technology is designed to improve carbon diversion, energy efficiency and the tolerance of wastewater treatment plants to “peak flow events” in the face of aging sewer systems and erratic weather patterns caused by climate change.

Water Resources Monitoring Group (WRMG)/Turbidity Tracker

(Lancaster, Wisconsin) – WRMG will field-test a low-cost system called the “Turbidity Tracker” designed to estimate soil loss from agricultural landscapes in real time.

Water Warriors/Poseidon Pellets

(Lexington, Kentucky) – Water Warriors will demonstrate the effectiveness of its innovative, high-capacity water treatment pellets in reducing phosphorus concentrations by addressing runoff and/or stormwater nutrient pollution in early stages, with minimal infrastructure investment.


Water Stewardship

The Water Council offers an array of water stewardship programs and services, from out-of-the-box solutions to tailored advisory assistance to training, to help businesses and professionals begin and accelerate their water stewardship journeys. We are committed to cultivating responsible stewardship of the world’s freshwater resources.


Throughout 2021, The Water Council developed WAVE: Water Stewardship Verified, our corporate water stewardship program to help companies improve water stewardship performance and credibly tell their water stewardship story, with informal advisement from Impax Asset Management and Sustainalytics. Through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s six-week National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program, we interviewed more than 50 stakeholders about their water stewardship needs and refined our offering in anticipation of a 2022 launch. We also piloted the program with four companies – A. O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter, Nutrien and Watts Water Technologies. Finally, we reached an agreement with SCS Global Services, a global leader in third-party verification of sustainability claims, to provide independent verification of WAVE participants.

Advisory Services & Collaboration

The Water Council conducted advisory water stewardship services for several clients this year, including two large European companies in the pharmaceutical and bio-agriculture sectors to help them better understand local water risk in North America. We also worked with the American Chemistry Council to develop a water risk assessment process for their members and piloted it with 12 of its members. We kicked off a multi-stakeholder water stewardship project in Manitoba with four corporate partners – General Mills, Nutrien, J.R. Simplot Co. and BASF – and another nonprofit, ALUS Canada, focused on the agricultural supply chain. The Lake Winnipeg Water Stewardship Project aims to improve water quality and quantity in southern Manitoba by altering land, water and nutrient management on Manitoba farms. We also signed a memorandum of understanding with Riverwater Partners, a Milwaukee-based ESG investment firm, to promote water stewardship within the ESG community and portfolio companies. Finally, we supported the development of a graduate-level water stewardship course at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that was approved as part of a recurring curriculum to be offered for the first time in 2022.

Alliance for Water Stewardship

In 2021, we completed our multi-year agreement to build and launch the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) System in North America. We delivered AWS Standard System Training to 65 individuals, ensured certification quality control in North America, transferred operation of the AWS professional credentialing system to AWS headquarters and worked with the following companies to achieve AWS Standard site certification:


The Water Council collaborates with members, partner organizations, nonprofits and governmental entities in the U.S. and around the world to further our innovation and stewardship missions and promote economic development in the water technology industry.

Water Champions

In fall 2021, we introduced a new membership opportunity, Water Champion. Traditionally, The Water Council’s members have come from the water technology sector. The Water Champion membership allows non-water tech companies to join The Water Council and support our mission to drive freshwater innovation and advance water stewardship. It also offers an easy first steppingstone for companies beginning their water stewardship journeys. We ended the year with five Water Champions and expect continued growth in 2022.
Black & Veatch

Water Leaders Summit

After missing our annual Water Leaders Summit in 2020 (we recorded a podcast series, Water Sessions, instead), we held a virtual summit over six days filled with insight from thought leaders on infrastructure, climate change, ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing and more. The summit was headlined by Sara Gonzalez-Rothi, the first adviser focused solely on water for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who called climate change “the existential challenge of (our) lifetime.”

“Most people are going to experience climate change primarily and fundamentally through water, whether too much water or too little water.”

-Claudia Toussaint, Xylem, during the Water Leaders Summit


WEFTEC, the global conference for water professionals organized by the Water Environment Federation, returned in person in October 2021 in Chicago. The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation hosted the Global Center on behalf of the state of Wisconsin. Although the event looked different from previous years, we could sense renewed energy and excitement among the attendees, many of whom were seeing each other for the first time in nearly two years.

At WEFTEC, we announced a renewal of our memorandum of understanding with the Catalan Water Partnership in Catalonia, Spain. The collaboration has been incredibly fruitful since it was first formed in 2018, highlighted by a joint venture between Spanish company SIGMA DAF Clarifiers and Milwaukee-based Clearwater Industries that resulted from our matchmaking.

Immediately following WEFTEC, we hosted a business development event in Milwaukee for international water companies, with representatives from companies located in the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada. This followed our hosting of the Korea Water Cluster at our headquarters days before leaving for Chicago.

Naval War College Visit

In December, we welcomed naval officers from all over the world to the Global Water Center as part of a U.S. Naval War College field program. The officers learned how businesses, NGOs and universities are finding solutions to humanitarian water challenges that could affect their home countries. As climate change accelerates water crises such as drought and flooding, these solutions become more important than ever. 

Our Board

Jim Stern, Chair
Executive Vice President
A. O. Smith Corporation

Ken Bockhorst, Vice Chair
Chairman, President & CEO
Badger Meter

Scott C. Beightol, Treasurer
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Kirk Allen
President & CEO
Sloane Valve Company

Tom Barrett
City of Milwaukee

Steve Booth
President & CEO
Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.

Lafayette Crump
Commissioner of City Development
City of Milwaukee

Karen Dettmer
Milwaukee Water Works

Missy Hughes
Secretary & CEO
Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Paul Jones
Retired Executive Chairman
A. O. Smith Corporation

Elizabeth Koehler
Wisconsin State Director
The Nature Conservancy

Michael Lovell
Marquette University

John Matthews
Matthews Strategic Services, LLC

Rich Meeusen
Retired CEO
Badger Meter, Inc.

Mark Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Robert J. Pagano Jr.
President & CEO
Watts Water Technologies

Marc Roehl
Executive Vice President
Ixom Watercare

Kevin Shafer
Executive Director
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Julia Taylor
Greater Milwaukee Committee

Emilio Tenuta
Senior Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer


Dean Amhaus President & CEO Beverley Ferrara European Representative Karen Frost Vice President, Economic Development & Innovation Matt Howard Vice President, Water Stewardship

Amy Jensen

Dr. Barry Liner
Technical Advisor

Angela May
Executive Assistant, Office Manager

Laura Mullen
Member Engagement Manager

Jane Schaub
Water Stewardship Intern

Stacy Vogel Davis
Communications Director

Dylan Waldhuetter
Director, Water Stewardship Solutions


Our valued members are the heart of The Water Council and our activities.
Thank you for your support.

A. O. Smith Corporation


Anguil Environmental Systems, Inc.


Aqua Membranes, Inc.


Aquarius Systems

Badger Meter, Inc.

Baker Manufacturing Company, LLC

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP

Beckhoff Automation, LLC

BloomOptix, LLC

Blue World Insight LLC

Cadens LLC

Capta Hydro

Caravela IoT

Cimbria Capital

City of Milwaukee

Clearwater Industries, Inc.

Copperstone Technologies Ltd

Corncob, Incorporated

Covanta Environmental Solutions, LLC

Dana Investment Advisors

Discovery World Ltd.


DMR International Inc

Earthwise Environmental Inc.

Ecospears LLC

Energy Tech Innovations LLC

ERC Midwest LLC

Evoqua Water Technologies LLC

Exciton Clean, LLC

Fixed Earth Innovations Ltd.

Forward Water Technologies

Fund for Lake Michigan

Gen3bio, Inc.


Global Water Works

Go Aigua Inc.

Greater Milwaukee Committee


Harbor District Inc.

Hydraloop Systems BV

In-Pipe Robot


KenWave Solutions Inc.

Kohler Co.

Lakewood Instruments LLC

Lappley & Associates Ltd.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Marlo Incorporated

Marquette University

Matthews Strategic Services LLC

McCotter Energy Systems

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Mid-West Energy Research Consortium

Milwaukee 7

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Milwaukee Riverkeeper Inc.

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition

Milwaukee Water Works

Molson Coors Beverage Company

Nasco Sampling/Whirl-Pak

NEUTRALOX Umwelttechnik GmbH


North Shore Water Commission

Nueva Additives, LLC

NX Filtration

Oceanus Water & Energy Recovery Systems LLC


P4 Infrastructure

PAK Technologies Inc.

Pani Clean, Inc.


Power Lube Industrial

PowerTech Water

Pulsed Burst Systems LLC

Pyro-E, LLC

Qingdao Guanghua Environmental Technology Co. Ltd.

Qualified Water Systems LLC


Robert W. Baird & Company

Roving Blue, Inc.

Ruekert & Mielke Inc.

Sage Water LLC

SENTRY: Water Monitoring & Control Inc

SIGMA DAF Clarifiers

Sika USA Inc.

Slater Infrastructure Group

Sloan Valve Company


Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission

SRL-Environmental, LLC

STAR Water Group

Swirltex Inc

Symbiont Science Engineering & Construction Inc.

The Nature Conservancy

The Probst Group

Total Water Treatment Systems

True Elements LLC

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

UWM Innovation Accelerator Prototyping Center

UWM Research Foundation

Vandewalle & Associates Inc.

Varuna iOT


VISIT Milwaukee

Water Resources Monitoring Group LLC

Water Warriors, Inc.


Watts Water Technologies, Inc.

Waukesha Water Utility

WEC Energy Group, Inc.

Wells Fargo

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association

Wisconsin Section of AWWA

Xela Innovations LLC

Xylem Inc.