Liquid Assets: Tri-State displays water technology innovation efforts on national stage

Confluence seen as model for other U.S. 'clusters'

For a few days this week, Cincinnati has been the water technology innovation capital of the U.S.

That's because the city has been hosting the U.S. EPA Water Technology Innovation Cluster Meeting from March 24 through March 26.

It's the first formal gathering of leaders from more than a dozen groups across the country who are trying to make it easier for companies to develop and commercialize technology to address the planet's major water problems: scarcity, quality and security.

Confluence, which covers Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana, was among the participants. WCPO and 91.7 WVXU in 2013 produced a series of stories called "Liquid Assets" about the organization's work and the region's bountiful water supply as an economic advantage.

Confluence is viewed as an "early leader" in the water technology innovation effort, said Jeff Moeller, director of water technologies for the Water Environment Research Foundation in Alexandria, Va.

When organizations like Confluence work well, they nurture innovations that can save money, reduce costs, help the environment and create jobs at the same time, he said.

By working together, they can accomplish even more, said Sally Gutiérrez, director of the Environmental Technology Innovation Cluster Development and Support Program at the EPA's Office of Research and Development in Cincinnati.

"To me, one of the ways that we're still exporting water knowledge out of the region is really trying to capitalize on all of the experience we're having here with Confluence and really looking at where that connects with other places and where there are opportunities," Gutiérrez said. "That is a great advantage in kind of having them on our home turf."

Insiders can read more about water technology leaders' views of Confluence's work and the serious water problems such groups are working to address.



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