March 13, 2017

CHICAGO (March 13, 2017) – In partnership with today’s international Urban Waterways Forum hosted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Current, a new non-profit organization that is propelling Chicago’s water economy, and City Digital, which focuses on data-driven urban innovation in the built environment, are convening a Water Innovation Symposium to explore how Chicago is tackling regional water challenges through technology and collaboration.

Urban waterways such as the Chicago River represent the confluence of ecology, development, and economic growth. Thriving and vibrant urban communities require robust and resilient water infrastructure. With more frequent and intense rain events, aging infrastructure, and impaired water quality due to population and industrial growth, ongoing innovation and investment are essential to protect, preserve, and enhance urban water resources.

The Water Innovation Symposium will profile new technologies and collaborations being embraced across Chicago that address these pressing water needs, enhance quality of life, and support economic development. They include analyzing microbes in river water to protect public health, using data analytics to enhance green infrastructure investments, reducing institutional water use, and harvesting valuable commodities such as phosphorus from wastewater while protecting ecosystems.

“Intensifying water challenges demand ambitious solutions,” said Steve Frenkel, Current’s executive director. “Today’s symposium shows how Chicago’s world-class capabilities in water research, infrastructure, and industry can advance the next-generation technologies needed to address water scarcity and quality facing communities and businesses not only here in Illinois, but nationally and globally.”

In addition to featuring technology solutions, the symposium will profile innovative collaborations among governments, communities, and private sector stakeholders to illuminate how collaborations can create new business and governance models to creatively manage urban water resources.

“City Digital at UI LABS has brought together public, private, and non-profit partners to develop solutions that address challenges to the built environment,” said Steve Fifita, executive director of City Digital. “Using Chicago as a testbed, City Digital is helping cities globally leverage data and build new tools to enable improved management of urban water resources on a greater scale.”