Connecting Americans to the value of water in our lives.


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Connecting Americans to the value of water in our lives.


Our Vision and Mission

The Water Main builds public will in support of clean, abundant, accessible water.

We do this as a hub that brings people together, informs and expands perspectives, catalyzes new thinking and action, and collaborates with stakeholders.

By doing this, we will serve more people and strengthen American Public Media’s public service.


What We Do

The Water Main is a new type of public service growing out of public media, designed to catalyze conversation and action on the topic of water in the U.S. We collaborate with media organizations, within and outside APM, to develop and produce content that raises Water IQ and Water EQ. We convene dialogues and catalyze conversations that address thorny topics and create space for new types of thinking. We conduct research that provides key audience insights to us, and to others working on water issues, so that we can engage in the most effective way. And we work across the water community to build shared perspective and create the conditions needed for new thinking and action.

Read our 2018 Year in Review for a snapshot of what we accomplished our first year.



How We Work

The Water Main was created by American Public Media to serve current and new audiences in different ways, by growing new public service models that shape and inform critical conversations and decisions in society.

We’re a new type of public service growing out of public media, focused on connecting with audiences on a specific topic relevant and important to society, and acting in ways that have an enduring impact.

While we’re housed at APM, our mandate is to work far beyond its borders in collaboration with other media organizations, stakeholder groups and communities.  

We consider three important factors when we measure our success:

  • the people we reach

  • the degree to which we are able to increase audience understanding (which we call Water IQ) and personal connection (which we call Water EQ)

  • The partnerships, community and network we build in support of water

We are funded by American Public Media’s Inspired by You campaign and philanthropic donations from foundations, individuals and companies.

We maintain a firewall between our funding partners and our editorial content. To learn more about how we work, explore the premises that guide our strategy.


Our Team


Amy Skoczlas Cole, Managing Director


Over the course of a 25-year career spanning Fortune 500 companies, non-profits and foundations, Amy has worked to reimagine the systems that deliver clean water, sustainable food and clean energy to society. Currently, she leads the Water Main, American Public Media's groundbreaking new effort to redefine Americans’ relationship with this most vital of resources. Read Amy's full bio here >>


Annie Baxter, Content Manager


Annie Baxter is an award-winning journalist based in St. Paul, Minn. She came to American Public Media as a reporter in 2003 and went on to work for APM's national business program Marketplace®, where she specialized in food and agriculture. She joined the Water Main as Content Manager in October 2017.

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Todd Melby, Podcast Producer


Before joining the Water Main, Todd Melby has worked as an independent journalist, producing radio stories and documentaries, including We Don't Talk Like That: Fargo and the Midwest Psyche. From 2012 -2015. He led Black Gold Boom, a multimedia project on North Dakota's oil boom. He's also covered breaking news for Reuters and won multiple national journalism awards, including a pair of Edward R. Murrows.


Lauren Humpert, Project Coordinator


Lauren Humpert joined the Water Main as Project Coordinator in April 2018 after moving to Minnesota from Kentucky. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Louisville and brings a diverse background of work experience in sustainability, community engagement and project management. Prior to working for APM, Lauren coordinated a compassionate cities research project with Louisville Metro Government and the University of Louisville.


Laura Daugherty, Marketing Manager


Laura Daugherty is the Marketing Manager for content initiatives at APM / MPR, which includes the Water Main, Call to Mind, and the APM Research Lab. Before coming to MPR in April 2018, Laura worked for multiple nonprofit agencies in membership and marketing. Laura has an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, a Certificate in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Wisconsin - Superior and a BBA in Marketing with a minor in Studio Art from the University of Minnesota - Duluth.




Daniel Ackerman joined the Water Main team in 2019 as a science communication fellow. His work centers around America’s aging water infrastructure. Prior to joining APM, Daniel has worked as a freelance environmental journalist for National Geographic, Washington Post, Ensia and others. In 2018, he wrote for Scientific American through the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship. Daniel holds a PhD in ecology from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Carleton College.



Contact Us

Want to know what we're up to? Have a question for us? Send us a note or follow us on social media.

TWITTER: @thewatermain

FACEBOOK: @thewatermain

INSTAGRAM: @the_water_main


Want to partner with us on a project? Partnership is the cornerstone of our work. Send us a note with this form.

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