The U.S. Water Alliance announced Gov. Tony Evers as the recipient of this year’s U.S. Water Prize in the Outstanding Public Official category, according to a press release.
The recognition took place during the U.S. Water Prize 2022 Ceremony in Milwaukee on Sept. 13. The U.S. Water Prize is awarded annually to celebrate achievements in integrated, sustainable and inclusive solutions to water challenges faced by the United States, according to the U.S. Water Alliance website.
This year’s winners were selected from more than 160 total nominations, according to Evers’ press release. U.S. Water Alliance Director of Policy and Government Affairs Scott Berry said the 2022 selection process was very competitive.
Berry said individuals and organizations can receive nominations in eight different categories, which include outstanding journalism, cross-sector partnership and public and private organization.
The selection process differs between organizations and individuals, according to Berry.
“Organizational awards tend to be for a particular program or project,” Berry said. “The individual awards are intended to award an individual’s either career’s worth of achievements or specific achievements in a particular area or place.”
Fostering Success expands to additional campuses, supports underrepresented studentsThe University of Wisconsin system is expanding its Fostering Success program to additional campuses this fall to help students who Read…
Gov. Evers is the only governor to receive an award in the Outstanding Public Official category, Berry said.
“We at the Alliance, as well as the independent review panel, were really impressed with Gov. Evers commitment to making water serve as a central issue not just in his campaign for governor, but also in his first term as governor,” Berry said.
Throughout his first year in office, Gov. Evers created the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council as a collaborative effort across the state to address contamination. He also made 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water in Wisconsin, according to the press release.
This past July, Gov. Evers and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit against three manufacturers in Wisconsin, along with 15 other defendants, for conduct that led to PFAS contamination, according to the press release.
A $10 million grant announced by Gov. Evers and the Wisconsin Department of National Resources in August will address contamination of private wells and increase access to clean drinking water, according to the press release.
$25 million in federal funding allocated to Wisconsin local businessesAn additional $25 million in federal funds have been made available to help thousands of small businesses move into vacant Read…
Berry said Gov. Evers is in some great company. Past award recipients include senators, agricultural commissioners, members of congress and state representatives.
In terms of Wisconsin water quality, Berry sees the award as an indication of the past rather than the future. It demonstrates potential in the state and among state leaders, but long standing issues, such as PFAs contamination, require a lot more work, Berry said.
“This award is not intended to be like, ‘job’s done, time to go home,’” Berry said. “We’re lifting up an example of how water is not just a winning issue with people, but can be a central theme to a campaign and an administration can bear some tremendous fruit as a result.”