How to have your voice heard during the Your Water, Your Voice campaign

Michigan has 20 percent of the world's freshwater - that's 84 percent of the freshwater in North America. How do you think we should manage it?

The Center for Michigan, Bridge Magazine’s nonprofit publisher, is hitting the road this fall to hear residents’ water priorities. We need your voice to make it happen!

During The Center’s Your Water, Your Voice campaign, there will be several Community Conversations and four Water Summits statewide from early September to mid-November. Each one will be an opportunity for you to let us know, in a state abundant with both water resources, industries, and issues - what’s your water agenda?

Each town hall will cover one of two topics:

  • Great Waters, Great Economy, which addresses the state’s natural waters and the economic activity dependent on them
  • Drinking Water, which explores how to deliver clean drinking water statewide

What you share in these conversations form the basis of our Citizens Water Agenda. This report will be delivered to every state-level elected leader to ensure your voice is amplified directly to Lansing.

How to have your voice heard

Get in on the action by attending one of the Community Conversations or Water Summits on the calendar below! You can also keep an eye on Bridge’s ongoing Michigan water coverage and delve into the Center’s special report: “Lake to Tap: A citizen’s guide to Michigan’s water systems and issues.”

If you can’t attend any of our in-person events, you can always share your thoughts on Michigan’s waters right here with our Water Agenda survey:, or participate remotely in our live Water Summit polling.

Make sure to follow Bridge’s Facebook and Twitter for the latest event announcements and other remote participation opportunities. Connect with the campaign any time using the hashtag #MiWaterAgenda.


Southfield (Sept. 19)

Dexter (Sept. 21)

Paw Paw (Sept. 26)

St. Louis (Oct. 15)

Grayling (Oct. 16)

Oscoda (Oct. 17) CANCELLED

Dearborn (Oct. 19)

Ann Arbor (Oct. 21)

Sault Ste. Marie (Oct. 29)

Marquette (Oct. 30)

Detroit (Nov. 13)

Lansing (Nov. 14)

Check back here for more events as they are added.


Lansing (Oct. 3)

Grand Rapids (Oct. 24)

Campaign FAQs

How can I have my voice heard if I can’t go to any of the events?

There are several ways you can participate:

What are Citizens Agendas?

Citizens Agendas are reports summarizing what Michigan residents want state’s leaders to do. The Center for Michigan has published nine Citizens Agendas over the past 10 years on topics from education to trust in government, each one based on input gathered during a public engagement campaign from a demographically representative group of Michiganders. Over 69,000 residents have engaged with us to date. These reports are delivered to every state level elected leader to make sure what we hear on the road is heard in the Capitol. 

What are Community Conversations?

Community Conversations are facilitated town halls co-hosted by the Center for Michigan and a local organization. Local hosts choose the topic, pick the location, and convene an audience. The Center sends a trained moderator to your community to facilitate the conversation and record your priorities for our Citizen’s Water Agenda.

Where are your Water Summits, and what’s the programming?

Our Water Summits will be held in Lansing and Grand Rapids in October. Each of these evening regional dialogues will provide the opportunity to hear from diverse experts and activists on a wide range of water topics, from PFAS to expanding  our water industries to water affordability to infrastructure. 

A Citizen Sound Off will round out each event. This session will give attendees the opportunity to share their thoughts and have their ideas included in the Citizens Water Agenda.

Do leaders actually listen to the Citizen Agendas?

Yes! Our citizen agendas have provided public momentum for state leaders to:

  • Approve the nation’s largest expansion of public preschool
  • Institute tougher certification tests for new teachers
  • Approve deeper state investment in the “Pure Michigan” marketing campaign
  • Reform state business taxes
  • Reforming corrections spending to save taxpayers $250 million in state prison costs
  • Stop the shrinking number of school days in K-12 calendars across the state

Are you really nonpartisan?

Absolutely! The Center for Michigan’s Public Engagement Team is here to be Michiganders’ megaphone. We work to make sure residents are heard, not to further any particular party, person, or platform.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

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Mon, 08/05/2019 - 4:21pm

I would like the water to be drinkable, nothing more complicated than that.

GT Cty
Wed, 08/07/2019 - 11:03am

Agree with Anonymous. Water is horrible to drink or smell, and bottled water is the only solution.

Mary Ellen Howard
Thu, 08/08/2019 - 11:48am

I am concerned that your approach is to treat water as an economic commodity to be managed rather than as a human right and a commons to be held in trust and protected for everyone.

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 12:01pm

I hope it is just an oversight or maybe the events have come and gone but I do not see any events scheduled to take place in the UP. The Upper is surrounded by 3 of the 5 Great Lakes and the economy depends on clean water. I would think that a conference or town hall meeting would be welcome here.

Center for Mich...
Wed, 09/04/2019 - 12:46pm

Hi Scott,
We are still working to schedule events in the U.P. , but we are absolutely working to ensure that U.P. residents are included in this conversation!

Alexandra Schmidt
Tue, 10/08/2019 - 2:40pm

Hi Scott,

I wanted to swing back to your comment to let you know we now have two conversations in the U.P. later this month! We hope to see you at one of them:

  • Sault Ste. Marie, October 29 -
  • Marquette, October 30 -

- Alexandra Schmidt, Public Engagement Director

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 4:22pm

The exponential increase in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's) in Central Michigan is killing the Chippewa and Pine Rivers.
Current Manure Management Plans hold this industry accountable only for the manure they spread on their own property - selling it to a third party to dump in our rivers seems to be okay.

Sat, 08/10/2019 - 4:22pm

The waters of the Menominee River and Lake Michigan are being threatened by a proposed metallic sulfide mine from a Canadian mining company. This mine will pollute these water forever. Don't let it happen.

Len Allgaier
Sun, 08/11/2019 - 9:23am

Septic systems are probably the number one threat to ground water purity. The products they disburse go beyond human enteric bacteria in an age where chemicals and drugs pass through systems not designed to purify them. Michigan is the only state that has no septic regulations whatsoever. New DNA based tests on Northern lakes show that upwards of 30% of the shorelines of lakes considered to be pristine test positive for human enteric bacteria which can only come from septics. This is a pollution problem we can do something about. Accessibility to and affordability of comprehensive well water testing are parts of a remedial program as well as financial incentives for correction of outdated malfunctioning systems.

Gary Flinn
Mon, 08/12/2019 - 1:01pm

What about Flint?????????????

Lawrence Reynolds
Mon, 08/19/2019 - 3:15pm

The city of Flint's last statement to the press in March 2017 was that there were 300 shutoff per week and 150 restorations .A $350 deposit is required to start residential service , but it is not known when it is refunded if the customer moves and the account is current. The current water rate increases under a series of state appointed emergency managers have been ruled illegal in court more than two years ago . The city has not responded to the plaintiff attorney's requests for a meeting to reach a settlement .

Stuart Nelson
Tue, 08/20/2019 - 11:07am

Would like a session in the upper peninsula since we are impacted and we do have some thoughts on the matter. Maybe this is just a feel good exercise for the politicians to claim they "heard the voice of the people" and then will vote where their money comes from. I am retired from the water treatment field and might have a valid thought or two.

Center for Mich...
Wed, 09/04/2019 - 12:47pm

Hi Stuart,
Thank you for your message. We are still working to schedule events in the U.P. but we are absolutely planning to engage U.P. communities in this conversation!

Alexandra Schmidt
Tue, 10/08/2019 - 2:42pm

Hi Stuart,

I wanted to swing back to your comment to let you know we now have two conversations in the U.P. later this month! We hope to see you at one of them:

  • Sault Ste. Marie, October 29 -
  • Marquette, October 30 -

- Alexandra Schmidt, Public Engagement Director

Priscilla Massie
Fri, 11/08/2019 - 2:16pm

The state needs to close down all the nuclear power plants & coal fired plants that are located on the Great Lakes. The oldest nuclear power plant in the country is in South Haven. It has leaked into the Lake Michigan, the nuclear waste is buried on the beach, the castes could be leaking into the ground water, and Lake Michigan. It was suppose to close in 2020. Now the Trump administration has given it an extension that goes to 2030! The coal fired Consumer Energy plant north of Holland is the most air polluting plant in the state, according to Sierra Club & Mlive.