What was originally Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid,” could fit an economic turnaround that’s taking place in the Great Lakes region, including Muskegon and up and down Michigan’s west coast. Grand Valley is right in the middle of it.
It’s called the blue water economy, and while it’s gaining strength, experts contend that characterizing the movement that looks to take advantage of our region’s freshwater supply as being a solely economic issue is only looking at one side of the coin.
If you ask economic experts about what the blue water economy means, they’ll tell you it’s a combination of being prepared for new business growth while taking care of the natural resources, specifically water, that give Michigan and the Great Lakes region a competitive advantage in the new economy.
Consider the scope of the resource that’s being leveraged to move the blue water economy forward: the Great Lakes contain 18 percent of the world’s, and 90 percent of the United States’ surface freshwater.
While the economy stands to benefit greatly from increased business, maintaining the water resources that provide opportunities for growth is critical. Alan Steinman, director of Grand Valley’s Annis Water Resources Institute, said that keeping the water clean, and using it in a sustainable, responsible way is critical to the expansion of the blue water economy.
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