Example Water Sector Recommend and Opportunity
W2 – Establish a clean-water-technology business accelerator and industry engagement program.
Provide resources and support to establish a clean-water-technology business accelerator and engagement program in partnership with the state of Washington Water Research Center at Washington State University, Puget Sound Institute at the University of Washington, Tacoma, collaborating state agencies, centers of excellence and related nonprofit organizations such as PureBlue.
The program will scale appropriate technologies for wastewater, stormwater, drinking water and receiving water bodies and develop small and medium-sized businesses. The program will leverage the existing network of incubators, accelerators and outreach and advocacy initiatives in allied industry and sectors from maritime 35 WASHINGTON’S GREEN ECONOMY to clean energy. Specific recommendations for the new business accelerator and industry engagement program include:
- Create an expert advisory group to leverage existing coordination and landscape analysis initiatives and define a roadmap on both the outreach and accelerator components of the program.
- Formation of a Washington clean-water alliance with global reach. Using existing forums, the alliance will facilitate exchange between the research and development community, commercial entities with solutions, industrial and municipal end users facing water quality challenges, investors and policy leaders. Furthermore, the alliance will play a critical role in associated education and workforce development.
- Identification of new technologies through international requests for proposals based on identified needs and provide expert evaluation.
- Accelerate the development and commercialization for selected technology companies (startups), providing co-location with large water corporations that are incentivized to locate in the state.
- Scale application through public-private partnerships for a revolving loan or similar funding mechanism for pilot and full-scale technology solutions benefiting Washington state.
Washington state should finance and incentivize the initial steps, required to rapidly enhance the capacity of statewide commercialization and scale-up of available water technologies, addressing emerging challenges of clean-water availability and pollution in a changing climate. These actions leverage existing public-private partnerships and financing to address key barriers for water managers across fragmented sectors in Washington, from pharmaceuticals and other contaminants in drinking water to industrial and agricultural runoff, from methane emission reduction and revenue generation from biogas captured at wastewater facilities. The coordination of technology acceleration in three underserved segments of the water sector; wastewater, stormwater and drinking water will leverage efforts currently underway among municipalities, businesses, nonprofit organizations and research center.
An expanded program would complement the existing Commerce’s Maritime Blue program. The co-location of supported water companies has been proposed for a Water Innovation Nexus at the Soundview Innovation Campus, where an allotted 100,000 square feet would be made available for a clean water center.
In support of a clean-water alliance and engagement effort, the Washington Water Research Center will leverage its existing leadership in integrative watershed-scale analysis and policy in Washington. Other Centers of Excellence that also specialize in integrative, multidisciplinary applied research include the Washington Stormwater Center (WSU) in Puyallup and the Puget Sound Institute (UW) at the Center for Urban Waters, Tacoma — each with key state roles in pollutant reduction with the Department of Ecology and the Puget Sound Partnership and direct engagement with stormwater and wastewater managers.