We sat down for a conversation with Matt Howard, Sweet Water board member and director of Alliance for Water Stewardship-North America.
Allen: Are you originally from Milwaukee?
Howard: I’m originally from St. Louis and I moved to Milwaukee from Washington D.C. in 2010 when I took a job with the mayor as Sustainability Director for the city.
A: How long have you been on the board?
H: I just started, so about two months.
A: Being on the board isn’t your full time job, what’s is your main project in Milwaukee right now?
H: My main job in Milwaukee is working for the Water Council. I’m directing a nonprofit for them called the Alliance for Water Stewardship. It’s an organization that is dedicated to helping water users in North America be as efficient and environmentally sustainable as possible.
A: What kind of current projects are you working on through the Alliance?
H: Well, the Alliance has a standard for how sites use water, kind of like LEED for water. So I work on building awareness of this standard and trying to drive uptake of the standard in North America.
A: What is one of your biggest concerns about what is happening environmentally in Milwaukee right now? What areas do you see as needing the most change?
H: I think the biggest issue is not becoming complacent in our stewardship of our local waterways. We have so much water and my biggest concern is ensuring that we don’t take it for granted. I also think it's important that we realize that just because we have so much water, it doesn’t mean that our resources don’t have stresses and issues that need urgent care. Personally, as it relates to water, as an avid fly fisherman I want to ensure that our streams and lakes and rivers continue to be healthy and support communities.
A: What’s your biggest point of pride about Milwaukee’s water politics and water strategies?
H: My greatest source of pride is the water industries and the fact that Milwaukee is becoming known as a world water hub. Clearly a lot of that rests on the shoulders of the Water Council and all the good work of all the other local partners and organizations. Additionally, the mayor and leaders in Milwaukee are really playing their part to get our name out there globally about what Milwaukee's doing to conserve and protect its water.
A: What’s your favorite part of your job?
H: My favorite part of my job is helping companies think through how water impacts their businesses and how it creates value for their businesses. So really, helping businesses think in a new way about water.
A: What’s your favorite place to be in Milwaukee?
H: I don’t want to tell you my favorite place because I don’t want other people going there... But besides that, my family and I enjoy the parks and the lakefront and being outdoors whenever we can be. Riding our bikes along the lake is probably one of our favorite things to do in Milwaukee.