The central government in China is soliciting the water expertise of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and several area businesses to help transform 30 of China's largest urban centers into "sponge cities" by 2020.
China will invest $16 billion or more over the next few years to enable those cities to soak up rainwater where it falls rather than letting it flow into rivers, a critical step in preventing major floods.
The 30 mega-cities are planning to store much of the water to meet another goal of re-using at least 70% of all rainwater. The water could be captured and stored for future use or allowed to seep into the ground to replenish groundwater aquifers.
MMSD Executive Director Kevin Shafer will attend three water conferences in China later this month to show them how rainwater can be captured to reduce runoff to sewers and waterways.
Shafer will be joined by representatives of Rockwell Automation; Rexnord; A.O. Smith; InSinkErator; GRAEF, an engineering firm; and PaveDrain, a maker of permeable paving surfaces. The conferences are scheduled Nov. 27 in Nanjing, Nov. 29 in Beijing and Dec. 1 in Haikou.