As the legislature is preparing their priorities for the next session and the holiday tree in the State Capitol is decorated with ornaments that celebrate Wisconsin’s Waters, we want to highlight a top priority Wisconsin voters have declared over three election cycles: clean water. We know people care about clean water, but now we need our state leaders to listen to the people and put our clean water values into action.

On November 8, a majority of voters in five counties voted YES on an advisory referendum question on the right to clean water, showing strong bipartisan support for clean water protection. The question read: “Should the State of Wisconsin establish a right to clean water to protect human health, the environment, and the diverse cultural and natural heritage of Wisconsin?”

When voters are asked if they believe in the right to clean water, they vote YES in strong numbers that transcend political party lines. Voters in Adams (80%), Bayfield (80%), Green (84%), Juneau (80%), and Outagamie (80%) counties supported the non-binding question. They joined previous voters in Marquette (73%), Portage (77%), Wood (76%), Eau Claire (79%) and La Crosse (86%) Counties who also approved the Clean Water Now referendum.

There are urgent human and environmental health needs that must be addressed. From nitrate contaminated drinking wells and our need for action on groundwater contamination standards, to remediating PFAS contaminated water and soil, our state leaders need to put partisanship aside and work to ensure safe drinking water.

We have a large budget surplus that can be used to provide meaningful improvements to homeowners, businesses and our rivers, lakes and groundwater across the state. We are concerned that Wisconsinites can expect to see a continued political stalemate and a lack of progress on the systemic change needed to stop water pollution before it starts. Unless state leaders start listening to the voters, we will see more partisan politics getting in the way of progress on urgent and fundamental issues of human and environmental health protections.

River Alliance remains committed to being a voice for clean water and local watershed protection groups around the state that work to defend our rivers, streams, and groundwater that is the source of drinking water for most Wisconsinites. We ask all Wisconsinites to join us by letting your state representatives know you want clean water.

– Allison Werner, Executive Director


This message is made possible by generous donors who believe people have the power to protect and restore water. Become a member of River Alliance of Wisconsin today.