Karen Dettmer

Superintendent, Milwaukee Water Works

Karen Dettmer, P.E. is the superintendent of the Milwaukee Water Works. She was appointed by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and approved by the Common Council in February 2019.

As superintendent, Dettmer oversees all aspects of the largest public utility operation in Wisconsin. Dettmer leads a team of 350 professionals with an annual budget exceeding $100 million. Annual revenues of $95 million support a net utility plant in service of $645 million. The utility treats and supplies over 28.9 billion gallons of water annually to over 860,000 people in 16 communities in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties.

Dettmer previously served as Public Works Coordination Manager for the City of Milwaukee. In that capacity, she oversaw public works permitting and managed public works aspects of special projects. Most notable among them were the Lakefront Gateway and the Milwaukee Bucks Arena Development, now home of the Fiserv Forum and an entertainment district. As Public Works Coordination Manager, she served as liaison to Business Improvement Districts and other city departments.

A licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Wisconsin, Dettmer serves on the Menomonee Valley Partners Board and is a member of the Wisconsin Brownfields Study Group. She is a member of the U.S. Water Alliance’s Milwaukee Water Equity Task Force.

Wednesday, October 2
1:15 pm - 2:30 pm • The Resilient Water Utility of the Futureagora
Join in on this conversation among diverse practitioners from both domestic and international water utilities who will discuss the approaches used to increase resilience to extreme weather events. Through planning, coordination and technology solutions, drinking water, storm water and wastewater utilities are working to make sure that water systems will operate safely and reliably into the future.