Snag your ticket for the Citizen Water Summits, coming this October!

As a part of the “Your Water, Your Voice” campaign, the Center for Michigan is hosting regional summits in October to hear how residents would resolve Michigan's water issues.

Do you have an opinion on how Michigan should handle PFAS? What about rising water rates, Line 5, water withdrawals, or invasive species?

To have your voice heard on Michigan’s most pressing water issues, grab your free ticket today for the Center for Michigan’s Citizen Water Summits this October.

At each summit, you will have the opportunity to hear from experts, then share opinions on how to resolve the state’s ongoing water debates. The ideas you share will form the Center’s upcoming Citizen’s Water Agenda, a summation of residents' water priorities that will be delivered to state leaders in Lansing to amplify your voice.

A light dinner will be provided at both summits. Doors open at 5 p.m., programing will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. These summits are a part of the Center’s ongoing Your Water, Your Voice campaign. Running from Sept. 3 to Nov. 15, the Center is hosting community meetings statewide to identify how residents want state leaders to handle Michigan’s acute water issues.

October 3: Great Waters, Great Economy Summit - Lansing

Get your free ticket here!

PANEL 1 - Strike a Balance: Harnessing and preserving water to grow our economy

Moderator: Alexandra Schmidt, public engagement director, Center for Michigan


  • Laura Campbell, agriculture ecology manager, Michigan Farm Bureau
  • Rich Bowman, director of government relations, Nature Conservancy - Michigan
  • Conan Smith, CEO & president, Michigan Environmental Council
  • Steven Japinga, vice president of government relations, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce

PANEL 2 - Toeing the Line: Weighing Line 5’s benefits and risks for Michigan

Moderator: Jim Malewitz, environment reporter, Bridge Magazine


  • Peter Langley, executive director, Associated Petroleum Industries of Michigan
  • Andrea Pierce, chair and founder, Anishinaabek Caucus - Michigan Democratic Party
  • James Clift, deputy director, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
  • Elise Matz, appointee, State of Michigan Utility Consumer Participation Board

October 24: Drinking Water Summit - Grand Rapids

Get your free ticket here!

Keep an eye out for additional participant announcements for each panel!

PANEL 1 - Preparing our Water Infrastructure for the Next Century

Moderator: John Bebow, CEO, Center for Michigan


  • Ken Yonker, drain commissioner, Kent County & former Republican state representative
  • Don Petrovich, superintendent of water treatment, Plainfield Township
  • Pat Staskiewicz, director of utilities, Ottawa County Road Commission & incoming director, Michigan Section American Water Works Association
  • Eric Oswald, director, Drinking Water and Environmental Health Divisions, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

PANEL 2 - Straight to the Source: How do we protect our waters from PFAS and other contaminants?

Moderator: Riley Beggin, Capitol watchdog reporter, Bridge Magazine


  • Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), 29th District state senator
  • Robert Delaney, defense and state memorandum of agreement coordinator, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
  • Steve Sliver, executive director, Michigan PFAS Action Response Team 
  • Elaine Isely, director of water programs, West Michigan Environmental Action Council

If there’s not a summit where you live - don’t worry! Your voice can still be heard.

Start by checking out “Lake to Tap: A citizen’s guide to Michigan’s water issues” for an overview the state’s water debates.

After that, head to Bridge Magazine’s Facebook page for Summit livestreams. Tune in throughout the evening for live access to the expert dialogues.

Once the panels are over, the Citizen Sound Off Session begins! This is your chance to share your water priorities. 

The sessions will kick off with a series of multiple choice questions about different water issues, then move onto a moderated dialogue. You can answer the multiple choice questions alongside in-person participants with TurningPoint, a live polling app. Follow these directions to download TurningPoint on your phone or tablet to be heard no matter where in Michigan you live.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Thu, 09/05/2019 - 3:11pm

MI Tech did a very comprehensive study on the possible risks of Line 5.
Will they be invited to participate?

Ben W. Washburn
Fri, 09/13/2019 - 3:45pm

Yes, I can agree that the two issues which you have chosen are high among the water issues which all Michiganders face, that is, firstly, the strategic position of the Great Lakes States in maintaining a national and international constant and critical growth economy, and secondly and more locally, in resolving the horrendous economic risks that we in Michigan collectively take, on behalf of the millions of residents of all of the states and provinces in the Great Lakes Region, by permitting the continued use of Line 5. If this line erupts and pollutes the lower Great Lakes (Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario), what is the liability of Michiganders and our children for our reckless culpability in continuing condone this arrangement to the millions of residents of Illinois, Wisconsin, Ontario, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York? Obviously, the burden would lie upon us all.