The Water@Michigan Collaborative's mission is to work with communities that have been disproportionately affected by historic inequities in order to develop just, equitable and sustainable approaches that address their water priorities.
We do so by gathering and coordinating water-oriented expertise across the University of Michigan, to make this resources more accessible and impactful. We then work to carefully match and support community partners and their water-related priorities with faculty, students, programs, or other resources that are committed to mutually beneficial engagement.
Initially, we are working with black, indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) communities in Michigan. These communities are inextricably linked to Michigan’s industrial past, and as a consequence have suffered issues such as unsafe or unaffordable drinking water, neighborhood flooding, surface water pollution from legacy contaminants, and the general suppressive disengagement from water-based enjoyment, just to name a few. As many federal and state efforts to restore the health of Great Lakes waterways are in motion, it is imperative that the voices and priorities of BIPOC are represented in the efforts to revitalize their environments and neighborhoods.
Our approach to working with communities begins by understanding and acknowledging the expertise and knowledge that exists within each community.
Our process brings together the university’s multi-disciplinary water network to co-produce new knowledge about water with community end-users.
We will host quarterly workshops with community partners addressing their priority questions.