Louisville Water Company officials say they’d like to build an international water innovation center in Louisville. The idea was presented today as part of a pre-Idea Festival conference focusing on water.

Louisville Water Company CEO Greg Heitzman says the idea makes sense in a place like Louisville.

“Essentially what it will do is bring water to the people,” he said. “So what we’re going to be doing is taking what we do inside of our water company box and opening that up to the public.”

Heitzman envisions the Water Innovation Center as a spot where people of all ages and educational pursuits can come together, study water and develop water treatment technologies.

He says the proposed site—the historic water tower on Zorn Avenue—would build on the city’s rich history and connection to water.

“What I envision is we would have programs for preschool to elementary to middle to high school, college, and then post-doc research,” Heitzman said. “So it would be a venue by which you could study the entire science of water and how we advance the science of water to be able to make this world safer and be able to extend the life of humans throughout the world.”

The center is still a concept. There’s no discernible funding source—though Heitzman says he thinks some grants would be available—and there’s no timeline yet. But there are two designs for the project, created by University of Kentucky architecture students. Both incorporate the river and water into the plans, and include ample recreational, educational and exhibition spaces.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's News Director.