Northeast Ohio Network Formed to Solve Region’s Water Challenges

The Alliance for Water Future Spurs Innovative Solutions to Freshwater Issues: for ecology, for economy, for generationsNORTHEAST, OHIO, September 12, 2012 – On September 10, 2012, ten prominent organizations committed to work together to address water issues in the region and to grow our economic sector through the sustainable advancement of our water resources. The group took advantage of the first night of Great Lakes Week to launch a new organization: The Alliance for Water Future. The Alliance for Water Future is a cross-sector network whose purpose is to share knowledge and spur innovative solutions to freshwater issues. The Alliance partners are committed to work together to solve our region’s water challenges. Members will focus their attention in the areas of economic development, public education and outreach, research, and public policy. Success will be demonstrated by fostering a local culture around water, by the creation of solutions to solve our water issues, and by economic growth and prosperity of our region.Partners include: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland State University, Great Lakes Science Center, Hiram College, Kent State University, MAR Systems, NorTech, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. They have agreed to support the Alliance financially at a level that helps to maintain the sustainability of the organization. The Nature Conservancy, a national organization, has joined at the basic membership level and is excited to work with the Alliance water issues in Ohio. The Alliance is also been supported by several funders including The George Gund Foundation, the Generation Foundation, and the Lennon Foundation.With the launch of the organization, the Alliance is celebrating several successes with its partners. First is the launch of NorTech’s roadmap for a new cluster in water technology, which will focus on automation and controls, sorbents, and corrosion. The Alliance will work together with NorTech and the cluster to foster growth in industrial water technologies and in the water industries in general.The second success highlights the Igniting Streams of Learning in Science (ISLS) Summer STEM Academy, supported by Hiram College, the University of Akron, Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, CLEAN (Collaborative Learning for Environmental Action Network), and the Cleveland Metroparks. The Academy engaged high school students and teachers from Brooklyn, Parma and Cleveland, with undergraduates, professors and scientists in an eight-day hands-on immersion using Ohio EPA protocols assessing rivers and wetlands. This program provided the model to improve science education and water quality throughout 30 school districts in Northeast OhioThe third success is the completion of the pilot year of Great Science Academy at Great Lakes Science Center, a yearlong, in-depth program for middle school students that combines hands-on experiments, field trips to science- and industry-related facilities, and the involvement of local scientific experts to enhance students’ critical-thinking skills and help students see themselves as citizens of science. Students in the pilot year studied the environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability of the Great Lakes, engaged with Alliance member organizations, and devised freshwater exhibit prototypes to inform the Science Center’s future exhibition plans.“Great Lakes Science Center is a natural home for the offices of the Alliance for Water Future,” said Whitney Owens, Vice President of Education for the Science Center. “We led the earliest efforts – stretching back several years – to form an Alliance, and we feel that our freshwater education programs are a significant contribution to the Alliance’s work in outreach and public awareness.”The fourth success is the soon to be opened Stewardship Center at West Creek, a collaborative effort of several partners including Cleveland Metroparks and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. The center will be a resource for the community in education, training, access to science activities, and recreation.“The Sewer District is happy to partner with the Alliance,” stated Kellie Rotunno, Director of Engineering and Construction for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. “We both realize that Greater Cleveland's prosperity is tied to vibrancy of our Great Lake.”Several other organizations and individuals have lent their support both financially and with in-kind services. These supporters include: Arcadis, Arcelor Mittal, Clean WaterNet, Cliffs Natural Resources, Paul Dolan, Great Lakes Biomimicry, GreenCityBlueLake Institute, McMahon DeGulis, LLP., Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Ohio State Sea Grant, Parker Hannifin, TBEIC, and the University of Akron. Currently, the Alliance is being housed at the Great Lakes Science Center.The vision of the Alliance is to become the global leader in collaborative solutions in water technology and stewardship. The Alliance seeks to advance the partnerships and grow the network, develop short-term and long-term programs, and support the solutions and successes locally as well as distribute them in the global marketplace.“It was a privilege to be part of the steering committee for the Alliance. Our great lake is the cornerstone for economic development in the rapidly growing water treatment and water management industry segment," said Missy Hayes, Director of Marketing and Business Development, MAR Systems and AWF Steering Committee member. "the Alliance's ability to bring Universities, Municipalities and the business sector together to explore opportunities for advancement and growth in this industry guarantees it will be an asset to the Northeastern Ohio."To get involved or for more information, contact Fran DiDonato, 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland 44114, 216- 696-4376, www.forwaterfuture.orgSOURCE: The Alliance for Water Future