Building Trust in Water: Connecting Communities and Utilities

April 20, 2023
1:00 pm
April 20, 2023
2:00 pm
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Building Trust in Water: Connecting Communities and Utilities

Building Trust in Water: Connecting Communities and Utilities 

April 20th, 1-2pm EST


Presented by SWAN Forum and Cleveland Water Alliance


Trust is the glue that allows for meaningful interactions between communities and institutions. Unfortunately, recent high-profile water quality crises and a long history of systemic marginalization have eroded many community members’ trust in their local water and wastewater services. The result has often been a lack of authentic communication and collaboration between utilities and residents, an issue made even more apparent as much-needed infrastructure investments prompt rising water and sewer bills in many communities.

This virtual panel discussion brings together community, utility, and policy perspectives to unpack the complex factors that break down trust in water across the United States and the innovative strategies being used to address this pressing challenge. In conversation with each other and session attendees, our speakers seek to explore the challenge of building trust between utilities and the people they serve as well as the role of this trust in creating healthy and vibrant communities.

Participants can expect to learn


Liz Barlick

Public Affairs & Communications Manager | Cleveland Water

Liz Barlik is the Communications & Public Affairs Manager for Cleveland Water. In addition to leading communication and advocacy efforts, Liz is Cleveland Water’s lead on all things affordability and equity. Liz has spent over 10 years in the public sector, working to advance innovative, equitable, and effective strategies that help organizations and communities thrive.

Melissa Mays

Organizations Manager | FlintRising

Fighting through the ongoing Flint Water Crisis firsthand, Melissa learned how important it is to protect families from water and environmental contamination. Through activism, pushing for new legislation, educating the public, scientific testing, community organizing, and winning precedent setting lawsuits and court battles for Environmental Justice, Melissa has worked to keep the Flint Water Crisis and solutions in the forefront. She has spent the past 8 years pushing for clean, safe and affordable water regulations and proper infrastructure funding to help fix Flint properly and prevent more preventable contaminated water disasters from happening.

Scott Berry

Director of Policy & Government Relations | US Water Alliance

Scott Berry is the Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. He leads the Alliance's engagement on policy issues, the Value of Water Campaign, and the programming for the Alliance’s One Water Summit. He has over 15 years of experience in water,  infrastructure, and environmental policy work.


Max Herzog

Program Manager | Cleveland Water Alliance

Max Herzog is an impact professional dedicated to engaging diverse stakeholders in the development of tools and strategies that drive community innovation and resilience at the regional level. Since 2016 he has worked at the nexus of intelligent water systems, technology-led economic development, and collaborative Great Lake management as a Program Manager with Cleveland Water Alliance. Max holds a BA from Oberlin College in Political Science and Environmental Studies.