Great Lakes Group Offers Jobs Solution

The Alliance for the Great Lakes called on Congress recently to direct $10 billion of emerging federal economic recovery funds to much-needed water conservation efforts.

A new Alliance report, “Water Works: How Water Conservation Can Create Jobs & Leave Our Nation’s Waters Better for Future Generations,” advises that an infusion of $10 billion in congressional economic recovery funds could create some 200,000 jobs.

More importantly, the report says those jobs would lead to a more resilient national infrastructure, with the money used to retrofit buildings, reduce leakage, and otherwise make more efficient use of the nation’s water.

“We need to get the country back to work,” said Alliance President Cameron Davis. “But we also need to make sure we’re not putting the country on a stimulus sugar high with new jobs that are here today, but gone tomorrow because they don’t lead to change that’s smart for our children’s children.”

According to the report, although considerable attention has been given to how renewable energy and sustainable “green” infrastructure -- using nature to treat or purify water -- can create jobs, relatively little attention has been given to how the same can be true of water conservation efforts.

“Of all our complex water infrastructure needs, sustainable ‘green’ infrastructure and water conservation are the closest we have to ‘silver bullets,’” the report states.

The report was prepared with help from Ed Glatfelter, incoming director of the Alliance’s Water Conservation Program. Glatfelter formerly worked for the Illinois Water Survey and ran the municipal Central Lake County Water Agency. He also helped write the recently-adopted Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin Water Resources Compact as a municipal representative.

“Practicing water conservation will do more than create jobs and replace aging infrastructure,” said Glatfelter. “It’ll help implement the compact’s forward-thinking policies on conservation and efficiency -- policies that preserve and restore the Great Lakes waters while countering global warming and its effects.”

A copy of the report is available at: http://www.greatlakes.org/Document.Doc?id=504

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