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The Great Lakes region is blessed with an abundance of water. But water quality, affordability, and aging water infrastructure are vulnerabilities that have been ignored for far too long. In this series, members of the Great Lakes News Collaborative, Michigan Radio, Bridge Michigan, Great Lakes Now, and Circle of Blue, explore what it might take to preserve and protect this precious resource.

Great Lakes News Collaborative wins US Water Prize

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Sandra Svoboda of DPTV and Michigan Radio's Lester Graham accepted the U.S. Water Prize Tuesday, Sept. 13 in Milwaukee.

The US Water Alliance has announced that the Great Lakes News Collaborative is a winner of its annual US Water Prize. The US Water Prize recognizes the individuals and organizations that are driving innovation in the water sector and imagining new possibilities in water.

The Great Lakes News Collaborative was recognized with the US Water Prize in the Outstanding One Water Communication category for the “Water’s True Cost” series which examined the origins of the state’s water infrastructure crisis. The US Water Alliance described the Great Lakes News Collaborative as providing, “a slate of excellent and comprehensive coverage of water issues in the Great Lakes, these journalists are effectively driving the public conversation around water, the environment, and affordability.”

As the nation prepares to pour hundreds of billions of federal dollars into rescuing water systems, the Great Lakes News Collaborative investigates the true cost of water in Michigan.

Challenges in the water sector – and across the nation – are growing and are increasingly exacerbated by climate change. Water is often one of the first places climate impacts are felt by the public, particularly for low-income and communities of color. The US Water Alliance estimates that 2,000,000 individuals across all 50 states experience a lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation.

US Water Alliance Board Chair OJ McFoy said: “We want to thank our US Water Prize winners and applicants for envisioning a sustainable water future for our country and undertaking the hard work to make it happen. We are excited to honor our impressive slate of diverse winners this year.”

Other 2022 One Water Prize winners were the City and County of Honolulu for their whole-of-government approach to holistic water management; and Healthy Community Services for their “Water Wise 7th Ward” project focusing on green infrastructure education in a majority-Black New Orleans Ward plagued by chronic flooding.

The 2022 US Water Prize winners were selected from a pool of more than 160 nominations and applications. The awards celebration took place on Tuesday, September 13 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as part of the One Water Summit 2022.

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Michigan Radio, Bridge Michigan, Circle of Blue, and Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television, who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water. This independent journalism is funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. You can find all of the Great Lakes News Collaborative’s stories here.

Steve is Michigan Radio’s Marketing Director. His job involves coordinating the station’s marketing, communication and public relations efforts, special events, car donation program and community & media partnerships.
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