2022 Report - Water Council Annual Report


Annual Report

Letter from the Chairman

As we proved once again in 2022, The Water Council is at the forefront of uncovering new technologies, strengthening water entrepreneurs and mitigating corporations’ water risks through water stewardship. We started the year with the launch of our new stewardship program, WAVE: Water Stewardship Verified. WAVE is the first independently verified program that seeks to better define, recognize and reward good corporate water stewardship practices. The program has already seen a strong response. I’m proud to say that my company, A. O. Smith Corporation, was one of the first to be independently WAVE verified.

On the innovation side, we completed the second year of our BREW 2.0 Post-Accelerator and ran two strong Tech Challenge rounds, which attracted applicants from 13 countries. Working with the Fund for Lake Michigan, the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences, we helped fund water-focused pilot demonstrations for two promising Wisconsin students.

Indeed, collaboration is crucial to fulfilling our mission. We established plenty of new partnerships in 2022, including with the Council of the Great Lakes Region, KPMG, Suppliers Partnership for the Environment and more. In summer we announced a collaboration with the U.S. Army Reserve to assist in the recruitment of water industry professionals to serve as Public Water and Sanitation Civil Affairs Officers.
Finally, we held a highly successful Water Leaders Summit in October, our first in-person summit since 2019. The topics, including water and national security, PFAS, and water scarcity and economic development, could not have been timelier. Attendees said they enjoyed the robust discussion, energetic networking and sparkling new venue at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

All this gives us plenty of momentum moving into 2023. We will certainly need it as water challenges accelerate around the world. We are grateful to you, our board directors, members, sponsors and partners, for helping us solve global water challenges by driving freshwater innovation and advancing water stewardship.


Jim Stern

Jim Stern

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


The Water Council supports 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

In 2022 we completed the second round of our BREW 2.0 Post-Accelerator. BREW 2.0 is a dynamic next-gen accelerator program designed to help promising water tech innovators build momentum on their path to market adoption success, supporting late-stage or in-market water technology startups focused on “sales and scale.” This year’s cohort was truly global, with 10 companies representing the U.S., Austria, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Sweden and France. We also welcomed new sponsors, Beckhoff Automation and Thales Water Advisors. Thales provided in-kind training as part of our three weeks of virtual programming. The Marquette University College of Business Administration is also a programming partner. The program culminated in a virtual pitch day with nearly 200 registrants from around the world.



Onsite destruction of PFAS (forever chemicals)


Real-time, online microbiological measurements

Digital Water Solutions/Hydrant AI

AI platform with holistic distribution system monitoring


More precise and controllable filtration and separation technologies

KenWave Solutions

Data-as-a-service model enables more accurate pipe assessment

NanoAffix Science

Portable device for water quality monitoring

Pani Energy

Cloud-based SaaS uses AI to reduce costs, operational risk & emissions


AI-powered analytics software for water utilities

Stockholm Water Technology

Sustainable water treatment with programmable water quality


Online system detects pathogens & bacteria


Tech Challenge

Our Tech Challenge empowers freshwater technology innovators to vet their concepts with leading industry professionals and compete for a cash prize and other potential business engagement. The sponsors, A. O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter, Watts Water Technologies and Xylem (spring challenge only), chose the challenge topics, reviewed the applications and selected the winners. Across two challenges, we received applications from 13 countries in 2022. The exposure to new innovation is a consistent outcome for our sponsors, with 50-90% of applicants being previously unknown by the sponsors over the last five rounds. Below are this year’s winners. Spring Challenge:
  • Non-turbine energy harvesting: MIS7, the Netherlands, for its innovation using the temperature difference between a pipe and its surroundings to generate electrical energy.
  • Reduction of operating expenses in sludge management costs: Biovert Protein, Thailand, for its work reclaiming wastewater for reuse using a nature-based intervention to clean water and upcycle nutrient waste into renewable biomaterials.
Fall Challenge:
  • Contactless water quality sensors: Meratch, Slovakia, for its wireless smart device that measures water parameters such as quantity, velocity, acidity and more.
  • In-situ water hardness monitoring: Atlas Sensor Technologies, El Paso, Texas, U.S., for its electronic sensor that provides real-time data for water softeners at a low cost.


Pilot Program

Though awarded in 2021, three pilot program projects funded by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), the Fund for Lake Michigan (FFLM) and Wells Fargo were ongoing in 2022.

MMSD completed the pilot demonstration of the Tomorrow Water primary treatment technology at its South Shore plant. Although this technology is already in use at more than 60 facilities in South Korea, home of Tomorrow Water’s parent company, BKT, it is still getting established in the U.S. This pilot will help municipalities across the country understand the potential for the technology and possibly adopt a solution that’s more sustainable and saves time and space.

“We are pleased to share that you have helped lead a trend in the water field. Many municipalities are interested in this technology and are waiting in line for their pilot in the states of Connecticut, Hawaii, California and more.”

-S. Joh Kang, principal at Water & Energy Advisors LLC and consultant to Tomorrow Water

Water Warriors’ project has three pilot deployments in the Lake Michigan watershed testing and validating performance of its Poseidon Pellets for removing phosphorus for two wastewater treatment sites and for an edge-of-field runoff application. The project will continue into 2023.

Water Resources Monitoring Group (WRMG), funded by FFLM, deployed its pilot-scale field test of a low-cost monitoring system called the “Turbidity Tracker,” which is designed to estimate soil loss in real time from agricultural fields to support on-farm decision making and pay-for-performance programs. The WRMG project will continue into 2023.


The Water Council also supported two water-focused pilot demonstrations by Wisconsin students through a collaboration with the Fund for Lake Michigan, the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences:

Alexis Countryman, from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, is testing a nitrogen and phosphorus removal device for onsite wastewater treatment systems utilizing microbial inoculator generators and nutrient removal.

Beth Kondro, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, received funding for her project testing lanthanum-modified wastewater treatment residuals for removal of phosphorus in cropland runoff.


Water Stewardship

The Water Council’s water stewardship offerings took a major step forward in 2022 with the February launch of WAVE: Water Stewardship Verified. The Water Council’s WAVE program gives companies a way to improve their water stewardship and, importantly, have it independently verified. It is a six-step methodology for improving, reporting and recognizing good corporate water stewardship.

WAVE companies follow international best practices to assess water uses, impacts and risks across the enterprise, leading to more meaningful water-related goals, targets and outcomes.

We worked with longtime partner SCS Global Services, a globally recognized provider of third-party certifications, on independent verification. This is critical for companies to credibly report that they are addressing water risks and opportunities, particularly when it comes to sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting. The combination of our proprietary assessment protocol and independent verification make WAVE the only corporate water stewardship program of its kind globally, available to any company, in any sector, operating anywhere in the world.

The program generated strong interest and participation from a variety of industries in its first year. Sloan, BlueTriton Brands, Toyota Motor North America and Marquette University became the first official WAVE participants, joining pilot companies A. O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter, Nutrien and Watts Water Technologies. A. O. Smith, Nutrien and Watts became the first companies to be independently WAVE verified in 2022.

We also formalized partnerships with Riverwater Partners, an investment advisory firm, and KPMG, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, to promote water stewardship through WAVE. Additionally, we co-authored an article with Sustainalytics on addressing water risk in the food value chain focused on the U.S. Great Plains.

Participating Companies

Verified Companies

Our other water stewardship work in 2022 included:

  • Announcing a collaboration with Suppliers Partnership for the Environment, an organization promoting sustainability in the automotive industry, to create water stewardship guidance for the automotive supply chain.
  • Continued partnership with the American Chemistry Council to develop and help its members implement a water risk assessment framework for facilities.
  • Customized engagements with Sanofi, Abbott Labs and Novozymes to help them better assess water risk as well as implement existing corporate water stewardship commitments.
  • Partnering with the Council of the Great Lakes Region to accelerate water innovation and stewardship in the bi-national Great Lakes region. We helped create and launch Great Lakes WISE, or Water Innovation and Stewardship Exchange, which serves as a business-led, peer-to-peer forum for advancing water stewardship best practices, effective water sustainability policies and collective action projects that address regional water challenges and opportunities across key sectors in the Great Lakes region.
  • Launching our new comprehensive water stewardship training. This globally unique training covers water stewardship from the board room to the shop floor and provides professionals in the field with knowledge and insight on how to begin or enhance their corporate water ambition.
  • Continuing our thought leadership on water stewardship. We wrote several articles and columns for major sustainability, water and general publications, including a special section for Forbes. We also created an educational corporate water stewardship site to help companies and investors learn about the topic. In December, we launched a new video emphasizing the importance of water stewardship.


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.

U.S. Army Reserve

In June, we announced a collaboration years in the making with the U.S. Army Reserve. We signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) to assist in the recruitment of water industry professionals to serve as Public Water and Sanitation Civil Affairs Officers. These officers will provide technical expertise focused on water and sanitation systems for human, agricultural and industrial needs.

The Water Council and its partners, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University, will also provide training and research to assist U.S. military personnel in their overall understanding of water-related issues, including military training aids and materials along with workshops and conferences for skills exchange and capacity building.

In mid-2022, Albert Cho, Xylem chief strategy and external affairs officer, became the first person recruited by The Water Council to be commissioned in the program. Several more outstanding candidates are seriously considering joining. We are proud to be part of this important work that will benefit our country and the world.

Albert Cho is commissioned as a public water and sanitation civil affairs officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Water Leaders Summit

Our annual summit returned to an in-person event this year to great success. We held the 2022 Water Leaders Summit in October at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee with the theme “Unifying Innovation & Stewardship.”

Panels addressed current hot topics such as water and economic development in the American West, water’s role in national security, PFAS contamination and corporate water stewardship. We also tried something new by organizing attendees into small groups to discuss water stewardship topics, which received much positive feedback.

Photos by Kevin McIntosh

International Engagement

During the summit, we hosted a delegation from Phuket, Thailand, as part of the U.S. Water Partnership’s Water Smart Engagements program. In addition to attending our summit, the visitors toured a wastewater treatment plant and drinking water treatment plant in Milwaukee and attended WEFTEC. This partnership will continue for the next few years with visits back and forth as we help each other address our unique water challenges.

We also continued our work throughout the year with our international partners and overseas members. We hosted 11 international site visits in 2022, far surpassing our goal. Danish company APX10, one of our overseas members, announced it is opening its first U.S. office at our headquarters, the Global Water Center in Milwaukee.


The following week our team attended WEFTEC, the global conference for water professionals organized by the Water Environment Federation, in New Orleans. We again co-hosted, with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Global Center Stage on behalf of the state of Wisconsin.

We moderated or participated in several WEFTEC panels, including one about our collaboration with the U.S. Army Reserve and one about digital innovations coming out of our BREW 2.0 Post-Accelerator.


The Water Council offers its members access to an unparalleled network of water industry thought leaders, policymakers and innovators aligned through one of the most influential freshwater technology hubs in the world. We are committed to convening, connecting and showcasing our members.

In 2022 we grew our membership to 146 companies and organizations, including 24 overseas members. Our Water Champions membership, launched in late 2021 for non-water tech companies looking to support our innovation and stewardship mission, generated 22 members.

We were pleased this year to hold our first in-person member meeting since 2019 at Potawatomi Business Development Corporation in Milwaukee, and we look forward to holding more meetings in 2023.

One service our members find invaluable is business-to-business matchmaking. For example, in 2022 we connected Water Warriors, a BREW 2.0 2021 participant, with one of our international members, Phoslock Environmental Technologies of Australia. The companies reached an agreement for Phoslock to distribute Water Warriors’ phosphorous-removal pellets globally. You can learn more about that match, and see testimonials from other members, on a new matchmaking page on our website.

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

A. O. Smith Corporation

Aclarus Ozone


Anguil Environmental Systems, Inc.


Aqua Membranes, Inc.

Aquagga, Inc.


Aquamonitrix Limited

Aquarius Systems

Badger Meter, Inc.

Baker Manufacturing Company, LLC

Beckhoff Automation, LLC

BloomOptix, LLC

Bradley Corporation

Cadens LLC

City of Milwaukee

Clearwater Industries, Inc.

Council of the Great Lakes Region

Digital Water Solutions

Discovery World Ltd.


DMR International Inc

Elodys International

Energy Tech Innovations LLC

ERC Midwest LLC

Evoqua Water Technologies LLC


Exciton Clean, LLC



Fixed Earth Innovations Ltd.

Fund for Lake Michigan

Gen3bio, Inc.


Global Water Works

Greater Milwaukee Committee

Green Lake Association



Harbor District Inc.

Hydraloop Systems BV

In-Pipe Robot


Ixom Watercare Inc.

KenWave Solutions Inc.

Kohler Co.

Lappley & Associates Ltd.

Latitude Power LLC

Liquidcool Solutions, Inc.

Lumo, Inc.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Marlo Incorporated

Marquette University

Matthews Strategic Services LLC


Micronic Technologies, Inc.


Milwaukee 7

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Milwaukee Riverkeeper Inc.

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition

Milwaukee Water Works

Molson Coors Beverage Company

Nanoaffix Science LLC

Nasco Sampling/Whirl-Pak

NEUTRALOX Umwelttechnik GmbH

NX Filtration

Oceanus Water & Energy Recovery Systems LLC

ORIN Technologies LLC

P4 Infrastructure

Pani Clean, Inc.

Pani Energy

Phoslock Environmental Technologies Limited

Power Lube Industrial

PowerTech Water

ProFlow Pavers Inc.

Pulsed Burst Systems LLC

Qualified Water Systems LLC

Rapid Radicals

Rockwell Automation

Roving Blue, Inc.

Sage Water LLC

SENTRY: Water Monitoring & Control Inc

SIGMA DAF Clarifiers

Slater Infrastructure Group

Sloan Valve Company

SmartTerra Urban Water Management

Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission

STAR Water Group

Stockholm Water Technology AB


The Nature Conservancy

The Probst Group

Tomorrow Water

Total Water Treatment Systems

Tri-Lakes Water Management District

Triple Clear Water Solutions, Inc.

True Elements LLC

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

UWM Innovation Accelerator Prototyping Center

UWM Research Foundation

Varuna iOT


Vienna Water Monitoring Solutions VWMS GmbH

VISIT Milwaukee

Water Resources Monitoring Group LLC

Water Warriors, Inc.


WaterWeb Tools

Watts Water Technologies, Inc.

Waukesha Water Utility

WEC Energy Group, Inc.

Wellntel Inc.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association

Wisconsin Section of AWWA

Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council

Xela Innovations LLC

Xylem Inc.

Water Champions

Black & Veatch

Blue Triton Brands

CDM Smith Inc

Cimbria Capital

Covanta Environmental Solutions, LLC

Donohue & Associates, Inc.

Ecolab Inc.

EMCO Chemical Distributors, Inc.



Michael Best & Friedrich LLP



Potawatomi Business Development Corp


Regulosity LLC

Riverwater Partners, LLC

Robert W. Baird & Company

Ruekert & Mielke Inc.

SCS Global Services Inc

Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Vandewalle & Associates Inc.

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

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

Joel Brennan
President, Greater Milwaukee Committee.

Lafayette Crump
Commissioner of City Development
City of Milwaukee

Karen Dettmer
Milwaukee Water Works

Missy Hughes
Secretary & CEO
Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Elizabeth Koehler
Wisconsin State Director
The Nature Conservancy

Michael Lovell
Marquette University

John Matthews
Matthews Strategic Services, LLC

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

Paul Jones
Board Emeritus
A. O. Smith Corporation

Rich Meeusen
Board Emeritus
Badger Meter, Inc.


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

Stacy Vogel Davis
Communications Director

Dylan Waldhuetter
Director, Water Stewardship Solutions

Louie Glotfelty

Water Stewardship Intern