Water Story MKE Mobile App

Water Story MKE Mobile App

Want to explore our city? Want to have fun with your friends? Ready to discover how water connects our past, present, and future? Water Story MKE is a free app being developed by Reflo to reveal the water stories hidden in plain sight throughout Milwaukee.

It's like a digital scavenger hunt. All you need to play is a smartphone and a sense of adventure. Travel to five pilot sites across the city in your quest to earn Water Drop points. Play games, explore secret areas, and unlock themed treks. On your journey, hear the real stories of Milwaukee's water citizens. Add your own voice to the community by posting to Our Water Stories. Leave your mark by climbing the leaderboard.

The app is being built in 2016. The pilot will launch in 2017. Be among the first to beta-test Water Story MKE. It's perfect for school groups, families, tourists, and office outings. Play a little or play a lot, it's up to you. You've heard Milwaukee called a "Water City" a "Freshwater Hub", and the "Global Water Center"...now find out why.

Water Story MKE is a Reflo project in collaboration with Ex Fabula and supported by Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust and in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council*, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities** and the State of Wisconsin. 

Stay tuned for exciting news about a water-themed StorySlam at Lakefront Brewery on Feb. 21, 2017!

*The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin.

**Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Our Five Pilot Sites: In 2017, Water Story MKE takes you on a digital scavenger hunt across the city of Milwaukee. Here’s a preview!

              Thank you for your support!

              Thank you for your support!


On Saturday June 13th 2015, 40+ Reflo volunteers helped to build a 40,000 gallon Aquablox (R) cistern for the 30th Street Farm - a brownfield redevelopment transforming an environmentally impacted site in Milwaukee's 30th Street Corridor into a 1.25 acre urban farm incorporating large installments of bioswales and rainwater harvesting.  On Saturday June 27th 2015, Mayor Barrett, Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II and many others commemorated the project during the First Plantings Event.


Reflo has partnered with Milwaukee Environmental Sciences School (MES) to design and construct phase one of a full scale green infrastruction site redevelopment plan. Phase one includes a 1500 gallon water harvesting system, a native ecosystem hub, a garden maket, and a food production site.  Would you like to be a partner? MES is currently seeking funding, donations, and in-kind support for this project.

Phase 1 Tentative Site Plan

1.       Garden Market Location – nonpermanent market “structures” (garden cart, culture stand, etc.). 

2.       Food Production Location – Design and construct as many food production features (raised bed gardens, hoop houses, etc.) as can be supported by the water harvesting system(s)

3.       Water Collection System – Divert a roof storm drain to the outside for water collection. Appropriately size the collection system (Approximately 1500 gallons). Overflow to nearby storm drain.

4.       Native Ecosystem Hub – Remove concrete and create a native ecosystem hub with selected plantings. This space could potentially be used to capture more water for reuse if funding allows. In turn, this could help expand the food production site.

5.       1200 Gallon Cistern Project (Already Funded) - A fully funded 1200 gallon water harvesting cistern project currently in the processes of being designed. This cistern will connect to a diverted internal roof drain pipe. The overflow with be piped to an existing catch basin located in the courtyard.  

This clear PVC tubing allows students to see rainwater being collected. They can then use the spout to collect and analyze rainwater samples in the lab.


Martin Drive Community Gardens is located on the SW corner of N. 46th St and W. Vliet St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This property is currently owned by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Over the past five years the neighborhood has worked to transform the previously unused property into a vibrant community space by adding six raised flower/vegetable beds, two vegetable beds along the fence line, additional landscaping, and five Aldo Leopold benches. 

Finding a water source for the gardens became an immediate need. Initially, they were able to obtain a permit for the use of a fire hydrant near the gardens. In 2010, the City of Milwaukee notified them of their plans to start eliminating the use of fire hydrant permits for urban gardens. The gardens began looking for other sustainable solutions for 
harvesting rainwater.  In the summer of 2014, they contacted Reflo to develop design plans for an open air structure to aid summertime activities. Reflo has been tasked with designing a multipurpose structure that can provide shelter space as well as harvest rainwater for the gardens. 

Photos of our design can be seen below.