The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is now coordinating a network of 18 water technology clusters, a programme that was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The water clusters are regional groupings of businesses, government, research institutions, and other organizations focused on development of innovative technologies to provide clean and reliable water. WEF will facilitate cluster communications, advise cluster organisations, enable collaboration between clusters, and identify water programs that support cluster activities.
“The robust networks of these remarkable clusters are helping to solve water challenges by catalyzing innovation, developing technology, and creating economic opportunity,” said Eileen O’Neill, WEF executive director. “These clusters align perfectly with a core part of the Water Environment Federation’s mission to accelerate development and implementation of innovative technologies and approaches in the water sector.”
WEF will coordinate the clusters program as a part of LIFT (Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology), a joint effort with The Water Research Foundation (WRF). The affiliation with WRF will bring additional benefits through the organisation’s extensive expertise in water research, innovation, and technology. The programme will also be supported by two representatives from the clusters – Bryan Stubbs, executive director of the Cleveland Water Alliance, and Aayushi Jain, associate for market transformation for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.
“We look forward to growing the effectiveness of our water technology cluster network through the support of Water Environment Federation and the LIFT program,” said Bryan Stubbs, executive director of the Cleveland Water Alliance. “This partnership is a logical step in national coordination of our regionally-based efforts and will emphasise the vital role of water technology based economic development while accelerating R/D, innovation, and technology.”
Clusters have a key role to play in addressing the nation’s pressing water issues because they:
• Spur innovation. Clusters create a situation where companies and organizations can easily share ideas and solutions.
• Accelerate the development of new technologies. Connections within clusters lead to partnerships between businesses and researchers, facilitating the transfer of new technologies to the market.
• Streamline the adoption of new technologies. Clusters provide companies with easier access to test beds and partners for pilot studies and encourage communication between companies and regulators.
The clusters in the network are:
• AccelerateH2O – Texas
• Akron Global Water Alliance – Akron, Ohio
• BlueTechValley – Fresno, California
• Cleveland Water Alliance – Northeast Ohio and the Lake Erie Basin
• Confluence Water Technology Innovation Cluster – Southwest Ohio/Northern Kentucky/Southeast Indiana
• Current – Chicago
• H2OTECH – Southeastern U.S.
• Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
• The Maritime Alliance – San Diego
• North East Water Innovation Network – New England
• Prosper Portland – Oregon
• PureBlue – Seattle
• Sustain OC – Irvine, California
• The Water Council – Milwaukee
• WaterNEXT – Alberta, Canada
• Water Technology Innovation Ecosystem – Philadelphia
• WaterStart – Las Vegas
• WaterTAP – Ontario, Canada