A diverse group representing Wisconsin businesses and landowners have formed a new organization aimed at broadening the discussion about Wisconsin’s fresh water supply and the important role it plays in sustaining and growing the state’s economy.
The Wisconsin Water Alliance (WWA) will advocate for common sense regulations and policies that both help protect the state’s abundant fresh water supplies and foster a science and fact based discussion on water related issues, said Dan Ellsworth, who serves as president of the WWA board and is president and CEO of ANIMART LLC.
“Wisconsin has an abundant supply of freshwater, including deep, replenishing aquifers, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, the Wisconsin River, many other rivers and streams and an estimated 15,000 inland lakes,” he said. “We want to work with policy makers and others who share our commitment in protecting this vital natural resource for generations to come and to also make sure that we can continue to rely on it to help drive the state’s economy.”
Ellsworth added the WWA has as its mission to advocate for sound water policies that benefit current and future generations of Wisconsin families, cities, businesses, and others.
“So many of Wisconsin’s industries, including tourism, agriculture, pulp and paper, food products, manufacturing and others, recognize the importance of water as a natural resource and rely on it as a key component to help grow the state’s economy,” he said. “Through reasonable policies, we can continue to rely upon our freshwater to help drive the state’s economic engine while at the same time protect this precious natural resource.”
All of WWA’s members are highly regulated, depend on the availability of a reliable water source and invest significant resources into protecting the water supply and preserving the state’s fresh water supplies, Ellsworth said.
“The members of the WWA cannot operate and be successful without access to clean water, and they take their responsibilities to be a part of the discussion and solution seriously,” he said. “We support reasonable and fact-based regulations that are common sense and reflect the science behind the issues. What we don’t support is new layers of bureaucracy and rule making that are fostered by emotion, unsubstantiated claims and individual agendas.
WWA members have a multi-billion dollar impact on the Wisconsin economy, employ tens of thousands of state residents, contribute significant amounts to local and state tax collections and make major contributions in the various communities in which they operate, Ellsworth said.
“Dairy farms have existed for centuries in Wisconsin. Paper making is an important part of our state’s heritage. Sand mining has taken place in Wisconsin since statehood, and crop farmers have helped feed the nation and now the world for countless decades,” he said. “Our members have been able to make these meaningful contributions because they, too, care about clean water and protecting this important natural resource. Without it, we can’t exist, and we share the commitment others have in protecting and preserving our fresh water natural resources.”
In addition to Ellsworth, founding WWA members include vice president Lucas Vebber, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce’s director of environmental and energy policy; secretary Deric DuQuaine, general counsel at Milk Source LLC; and treasurer Jeff Landin, president of the Wisconsin Paper Council.