The Water Council revenues fall despite membership growth

Organization narrowed net loss on activities in 2017

Global Water Center Building (1)
The Global Water Center at 247 W Freshwater Way.

While membership at The Water Council increased in 2017, a decrease in revenue from its annual water summit and foundation funding led to a net loss on activities for the organization.

The Global Water Center building in Walker’s Point.

The Milwaukee-based water industry cluster reported a net loss on activities of $114,000 in 2017, a 48 percent decrease from the prior year, according to its recently released annual report. In 2016, The Water Council reported a $221,000 net loss on activities.

The organization reported total revenues of $2.84 million for 2017, down slightly from $2.93 million in 2016. The decline was largely driven by a 16 percent decrease in revenue from the organization’s annual Water Leaders Summit. Grants, contracts and contributions also decreased by 5.6 percent from the prior year, according to the report.

Meghan Jensen, vice president of marketing and communications for The Water Council, said the organization is “making strategic shifts to increase membership revenue and provide contracted services to businesses” as part of its long-term goal of reducing a reliance on grants.

“Included in this strategy is an expansion of earned revenue from the Alliance for Water Stewardship that will appear in 2018 and, more so, in 2019,” Jensen said.

Meanwhile, the organization reduced its expenses overall by 6 percent in 2017. Total expenses for 2017 were $2.96 million, down from $3.15 million in 2016.

The Water Council reported a net gain of 19 members in 2017, with revenue from membership increasing 5 percent from 2016. The organization has a total of 185 members, which include representatives from businesses, utilities, government agencies, startups, nonprofits and higher education partners.

The Water Council grew its global reach in 2017 by forging new international partnerships and recently opening a new European office aimed at nurturing a pipeline of water tech companies with the potential to establish U.S operations.


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