DEED: Minnesota's liquid assets
Minnesota knows water, and not just because it has 10,000 lakes.
Some of the leading water technology companies in the country have operations in Minnesota, including Ecolab, 3M, GE, Pentair and Aeration Industries. More than 15,500 people work in the Minnesota water sector, and the state ranks among the top 10 exporters of water and water technology in the United States, producing foreign sales of $729 million in 2012.
With experts predicting increasing global water scarcity, Minnesota is well positioned to address the issue and capitalize on potential business opportunities in coming years. The first Minnesota Water Technology Business Summit in Eagan on Tuesday will examine those and other topics related to the water industry.
Just how big is the need for water technology? The United Nations estimates $22 trillion in water infrastructure investments will be needed worldwide by 2030. In the United States, water and wastewater treatment is expected to become a $22 billion sector by 2016.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported Minnesota’s strengths in water technology include:
• Water treatment and re-use. Three companies with major operations in the state — Ecolab, GE and Pentair — were identified by Citi Research & Analysis as the top water reuse companies in the world.
• Filtration, desalination and membrane technologies. Citi Research & Analysis says four of the world’s top seven companies in membrane technology have major operations in Minnesota: Dow, GE, Pentair and 3M.
• Pumping. Minnesota ranks fifth in the country for employment in the manufacturing of pumping equipment.
• Aeration. Led by Aeration Industries in Chaska and Aeromix Systems in Golden Valley has developed a strong export market in aeration technologies.
Adding to the state’s standing in the water industry, the Twin Cities has the highest concentration of hydrologists in the country and a strong mix of engineers, water and waste treatment operators, natural sciences managers, biochemists and biophysicists, and conservation scientists.