Beijing And Milwaukee Sign ‘Sister Utilities Agreement’

The Cities Will Share Best Practices On Water

Beijing Water Authority members
Members if the Beijing Water Authority tour an underground pump room at the main Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District treatment plant. Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

Officials from Beijing, China, and Milwaukee have signed an information-sharing agreement on water issues, including controlling storm water run-off.

Leaders of the Beijing Water Authority say they want their community to become a so-called “sponge city” and learn to better capture and store rainfall.

John Hermes, of MMSD (left) and Anjun Pan, of the Beijing Water Authority (right) prepare to sign a “sister utilities agreement”. Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

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They’ve been talking best practices with Milwaukee, and on Thursday BWA and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District signed a “sister utilities” pledge.

Anjun Pan, deputy director general of the agency, said Thursday that rapid development has made clean water a key issue for the city.

“We need a lot of water. We consume water and we polluted water. So, we must pay more attention to our water,” Pan said, at a signing ceremony held in Milwaukee at the offices of The Water Council, a non-profit organization.

John Hermes chairs the MMSD Commission. He hopes in return for giving information to Beijing, Milwaukee can sell more water-related technology to China, and other nations.

“The flow will be both ways, of course. It may be more toward Beijing at this point, but we believe the other opportunities that this presents globally, are significant,” Hermes told WPR, adding that The Water Council recently signed similar collaboration agreements with Israel.

The delegation from the Beijing Water Authority toured several water-related sites in Milwaukee, including the city’s large sewage treatment plant, near downtown.