Great Lakes' Plan: Water- Based 'Blue Economy'
New businesses to include resorts, labs, manufacturing
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 27, 2013 9:42 AM CDT
This May 23, 2013, photo shows a view of downtown Milwaukee from the Kinnickinnic River, not far from where it connects with Lake Michigan.   (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)

(Newser) – Cities surrounding the Great Lakes have had it tough since their manufacturing industries dwindled—but now, they're hoping for a comeback based on an enormous resource: the Lakes themselves. "We all recognize that water has become more and more of a precious commodity," says Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett. "We have to do a much better job of promoting it." That's why, for instance, an old factory-turned-warehouse is being turned into a center for the "blue economy," the AP reports.

The center will house a lab for new water-related technologies plus offices for companies devoted to making the most of the resource—for example, a firm that focuses on using algae as fuel. Meanwhile, resorts will offer tourists a spot by the water, while other companies will build pumps and valves. Milwaukee alone is devoting $83.5 million to such projects during the next year. But some in the Sun Belt have their doubts about whether the effort will succeed; they say they have their own fixes for continuing drought concerns. "You guys get a little colder up there," says an Arizona businessman who doesn't plan on leaving.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
May 27, 2013 3:54 PM CDT
And, so 'they' start breaking the news to us that our most precious and fastest disappearing resource is 'theirs' for the plunder. This water belongs to us, but Robber Barons are seizing and exporting it to the highest bidders. In the near future, Water Wars will make oil shortages look like child's play.
May 27, 2013 1:11 PM CDT
One of my favorite "blue industries" is the brewing of beer. I highly suggest it for all these regions.
May 27, 2013 12:54 PM CDT
Sounds like a good idea that will go down the toilet like the industry that closed down and left because the unions moved in and put them out of business with their unreasonable, expensive demands. The same will happen with any new "blue" industry. The same union mentality still exists in The Rust Belt where unions demand half a days work for double the day's pay.