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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a51f0000In a unique collaboration between members of the WCPO reporting team and the news team of 91.7 WVXU, a week of special reports begins Monday examining perhaps the greatest, most profitable resource in the Cincinnati area: water.This is the first such collaboration between WCPO and WVXU, and this topic was chosen because of its dramatic impact to this entire region, both in terms of the daily need and use of water, but also because water technology, distribution, and related entrepreneurship is a growing component of the local economy.

Cincinnati making splash on national water scene

Think of it as a big laboratory where new water technology is tested. The EPA's Testing and Evaluation Center, right next to the Metropolitan Sewer District, played host to a group of people who wanted to figure out better ways to solve their water problems.

Richard Seline  with the Texas Water Cluster Initiative and others are now armed with new information after their visit to Cincinnati. He says, "You kind of see around the country who's doing what cool things with technology."

Cincinnati's water cluster calledConfluence is doing a lot of cool things with technology and is leveraging its expertise to become a world water leader, solve global problems and make money. The EPA hosted a two day meeting that concluded with a tour of this test facility.

Jeff Moeller, with the Water Environment Research Foundation, is glad more communities are forming water clusters to solve problems by using technology. "Just a couple of years ago it seemed like there were only two or three (water clusters) in the U.S. and Canada and now at this meeting that was organized by the EPA there were about 15 organizations." Moeller sees innovation as the key to solving a big funding gap.

Many are following Cincinnati's lead.

As reported in WVXU's and WCPO's Liquid Asset series The overall economic impact of water technology in the Tri-State is estimated to be as much as $2.1 billion annually with the potential to grow six to seven percent every year.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.