Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Business
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Report: Michigan among top states in employment connected to freshwater technology, services

FILE - General Motors Orion Assembly Plant's wastewater treatment facilities are shown in this Nov. 29, 2005 file photo. Michigan is fourth in the nation in the share of its workforce associated with industries that develop freshwater technology and services or are highly dependent on plentiful and clean water, according to a report released Thursday May 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Enlarge Image

FILE - General Motors Orion Assembly Plant's wastewater treatment facilities are shown in this Nov. 29, 2005 file photo. Michigan is fourth in the nation in the share of its workforce associated with industries that develop freshwater technology and services or are highly dependent on plentiful and clean water, according to a report released Thursday May 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Michigan is fourth in the nation in the share of its workforce associated with industries that develop freshwater technology and services or are highly dependent on plentiful and clean water, according to a report released Thursday.

From wastewater treatment to farming and advanced manufacturing, a wide swath of the state's economy is particularly sensitive to any changes in water quality or abundance, said the analysis prepared on behalf of three public universities that conduct extensive water research.

It also says that those industries and the research provide a solid foundation for developing a "blue economy" advocated by many futurist thinkers as a path to prosperity for the Great Lakes region in the post-Rust Belt era.

"You just have to look at what's happening around the country with all the droughts to understand how important it will be in the 21st century to know how to conserve and protect water," said Jeff Mason, executive director of the University Research Corridor, the consortium of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University that sponsored the analysis.

The report was produced by Anderson Economic Group, an East Lansing consulting firm that previously has examined the universities' contributions to sectors such as automobiles, information technology and alternative energy. The Associated Press obtained a copy prior to its release during the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual policy conference at Mackinac Island.

It found that 718,704 jobs in Michigan — 21.3 per cent of total employment — are with industries that benefit directly from innovation and research that boost water quantity and quality. Bigger states such as California and Texas have more such jobs. But Michigan ranks fourth nationally in the share of its workforce in those industries, trailing Indiana (23.3 per cent), Wisconsin (23.2 per cent) and Alabama (21.3 per cent).

Hawaii's rate, 7.5 per cent, is lowest. The nationwide rate is 16.1 per cent.

The report divided the industries into two broad categories. "Core water products and services" consists of sectors with the clearest link, as they develop, sell or implement water quality and quantity technology. Examples include water filtration, waste treatment and scientific or engineering consultant services. Michigan has 138,026 of those jobs.

The second category, "water-enabled industries," includes those that use large volumes of water for their products or operations, discharge significant amounts needing processing, or both. While virtually every part of the economy needs water, the industries in this group are most likely to make direct use of the new technology, the report said. Among them are agriculture, electric power generation, shipping and numerous types of manufacturing, from wood products to chemicals, drugs and appliances. Their combined employment totalled 581,028.

Only a few workers in such places might have direct involvement with water, said Alexander Rosaen, who wrote the report.

"But the fact remains that if there's a significant change in availability of water, or they can't get the quality of water they need, it might disrupt their operations or the might even change their location," he said.

Promoting both industry categories is important because they have strong growth potential in an increasingly thirsty world — and they represent parts of Michigan's economy that provide an advantage over competing states, Rosaen said.

The universities' water research and related programs "not only support Michigan's economy and way of life, but position the state as a knowledge wellspring for the world's most precious natural resource," said Lou Anna K. Simon, Michigan State's president.

___

Follow John Flesher on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JohnFlesher .

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media

Canadian Mortgage Rates