Mayors Highlight Need for Water Conservation: World Water Week 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012 - 11:43am

World Water Week is all about local water issues. On March 19th, 2012 Mayor Soglin, City of Madison, and Mayor Miller, City of Monona, joined community leaders at the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District to make a renewed commitment to protecting our waters.

Mayor Soglin said: "I am pleased to proclaim Thursday, March 22, 2012 to be World Water Day and ask that citizens join me in celebrating and conserving water throughout World Water Week." Mayor Soglin was introduced by Michael Mucha the Chief Engineer of the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, which processes approximately 40 million gallons of wastewater a day from Madison and surrounding communities. Mucha said that his agency "restores life by returning clean water back to the environment for generations to enjoy and hopes consumers will feel empowered to reduce their impact on our water resources by preventing contaminants from entering waters."

Tom Heikkinen, head of the Madison Water Utility reiterated the role of citizens in protecting lakes and streams and the underground aquifer - the source of local drinking water. "Despite a growing population, Madison residents continue to reduce per capita water usage. The current usage levels of approximately 68 gallons per day is less than the average four years ago of 73 gallons per day and lower than the national average (69.3 gallons), though there are simple steps we can take to take conservation to the next level."

Mayor Miller announced that his city's 2011 sustainability survey showed "water to be the issue of greatest concern to Monona residents." He went on to explain that the "costs to support the operation of the Monona Water Utility are rising, causing conservation to be more important to personal finances and the overall fiscal health of the community." All of which led him to proclaim 2012 to be the Year of Water in the City of Monona.

There are many steps that Dane County residents can take to reduce the pollutants that reach our lakes.

Fixing or replacing leaking faucets and toilets is a great way for consumers to save water. Jeff Hellenbrand, owner of Hellenbrand Inc. based in Waunakee, noted their company offers a high efficiency water softener that uses over 75% less salt and 35% less water than traditional water softeners. Softened water saves the consumer money on energy costs; reduces the amount of detergents and soap needed to clean, thus reducing the amount of phosphates that go down the drain and into our lakes. "Our company has also developed a Water Management System that allows the consumer to reclaim over 60% of the water used to recharge your water softener that would go down the drain. Instead, we can reuse that water to flush toilets within a household."

Finally, Don Heilman, the President of the Clean Lakes Alliance, a partnership of businesses, community organizations, government and individuals to protect the lakes of the Yahara Watershed, said that "on World Water Week we hope you will take the pledge to reduce your water footprint and get out there and enjoy Dane County's greatest assets, our lakes."


During World Water Week, a week of awareness and action, we are reminded that we all share the same water. From the lakes that define Dane County, to rainwater harvested in Africa, all water (every single drop and snowflake) is part of the water cycle, a dynamic system that sustains all life on Earth. Throughout World Water Week (Monday March 19 through Sunday March 25) we are working together to raise awareness and financial support for clean water at home and around the world.

Together as a community we can protect water with simple actions.

Individuals have a great impact on local water quality and water quantity throughout the water cycle. It's easy to conserve water by fixing leaky faucets or installing low-flow showerheads or water management systems to reclaim water. Using less water helps preserve our underground aquifer - Madison's drinking water source.

Dane County residents can protect water quality of our lakes and streams by reducing wastewater at home. Installing more efficient toilets, high efficiency water softeners and composting food waste can limits wastewater generation and diminishes the contribution of contaminants to wastewater. Through simple actions at home everyone can help minimize storm water runoff and help rainwater soak into the soil to recharge groundwater. Even in the garden, sidewalk or garage your actions can help protect local lakes and waterways from the impacts of contaminants such as phosphorus, salt, oil and grease.

Finally, take the pledge - visit and make your commitment to protect and preserve water.

Dine Out March 19-25 to support World Water Week.

Please join us as we celebrate World Water Week at participating local restaurants. While dining you will be invited to donate $1 for the tap water you would normally receive for free. Contributing is a great way to help provide lifesaving water and sanitation to kids around the world and help us protect the water quality of Dane County lakes for future generations.

Sponsors: The Clean Lakes Alliance, Hellenbrand Incorporated, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and the Madison Water Utility.

The Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and protection of the lakes, streams and wetlands in the Yahara Watershed.


  • James Tye608-628-6655
  • Katie Crawley608-266-4611