Milwaukee breaks ground on new water technology center

CREATED Aug 13, 2012

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MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee is hoping to become the Silicon Valley of water technology.

On Monday, city and state officials and business leaders broke ground to renovate a water council building.

With it, 500 jobs could come, along with the potential to help solve the world's water problems.

The government and business leaders gathered outside a warehouse in Walker's Point to stress the importance of water-related research.

"Right now, a child dies every 20 seconds in the world from a lack of fresh water," said Rich Meeusen, the Milwaukee Water Council Co-Chair.

"That is a sin."

The Milwaukee Water Council is working to change that and other major water problems around the world, including purity and quantity of water.

"Even in the United States we have big water problems. Atlanta has huge water problems.  We're still drawing water out of the Colorado River and it's running dry before it ever gets to Mexico," said Meeusen.

Home to more than 150 water technology companies, Milwaukee broke ground today on this soon-to-be-new Water Council building.

"We have a school of freshwater sciences, the only one in the country, that's been installed here at UWM," explained co-chairman Paul Jones.

That goal is to move into the former Reed Street Yards to become a water technology research park.

"Somebody built the first building in Silicon Valley.  This could very well be the first building of a new water technology center in Milwaukee," explained Meeusen.

More than 500 jobs are expected to come to Milwaukee from the construction and renovation of the first water council building in the U.S.

"We think we can help solve the world's water problems," said Meeusen. 

"We can develop new technologies."

The building is expected to be completed by the summer of 2013.