Great Lakes to Power New Midwestern Economic Boom

Aug 24, 2015 4:00 PM ET

Great Lakes to Power New Midwestern Economic Boom

With a focus on water scarcity, pollution, and conservation during this World Water Week, there’s one area of the country where the view is very different. In the eight Midwestern states that border on the five Great Lakes, plans are underway to take advantage of an abundance of water.

With 80 percent of America’s and 20 percent of the world’s freshwater supply, the Great Lakes offer a singular asset for a future economy. The Lakes are now well on the way to recovery from the pollution suffered during the previous Midwestern industrial boom, when the car industry in Detroit, breweries in Milwaukee, steelmakers in Gary, and furniture makers in Grand Rapids used them for manufacturing and transportation.

Now, Milwaukee’s Water Council aims for the region to become the water version of Silicon Valley, according to The Economist. Its Global Water Centre is an incubator for water-based companies. And several corporate pioneers in water conservation and technology are located in the Midwest. Ford has reduced its water use per vehicle by 30 percent, and Kohler and Whirlpool have partnered to eliminate water waste with a strategy to make homes entirely self-sustaining in their water use. That’s refreshing news in these hot, dry days of August.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

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