Thousands of people fly in and out of Milwaukee every day. Passengers lucky enough to have a window seat are afforded a beautiful view of the Hoan Bridge, Miller Park, the “Calatrava” wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum and the city skyline. The one thing that is impossible to escape even the more passive window gazers is that big body of water that spreads across the horizon. The rolling expanse of Lake Michigan appears like more of an inland sea than a mere lake; it dominates the geography below. With two Great Lakes, 84,000 miles of rivers, and 15,000 lakes in the state, Wisconsin’s freshwater resources are second to none. What isn’t immediately visible from 12,000 feet is that from the lakefront spreading westward are over 200 companies with ties to Wisconsin’s water technology industry employing nearly 250,000 people and generating $56 billion in annual sales (Dun and Bradstreet). Water has always played prominently in our state’s economic engines—agriculture, food processing, pulp and paper production, manufacturing, and brewing. In fact, the state’s name literally translates from Native American roots to mean “river running through a red place.”
The companies that developed around Wisconsin’s water-intensive industry have grown over the past century into the largest concentration of water technology companies in the world. Southeastern Wisconsin alone has over 150 water technology companies, including five of the eleven largest in the world. This region produces most of the world’s water meters, heaters, filters, fixtures and pumps.
Click on the links below to view additional reports, sponsored by the Water Council.