Jan 19, 2016

Report Shows Clean Water Means Jobs for Illinois

Efforts of MWRD, DWM highlighted

Efforts of MWRD, DWM highlighted

A report commissioned by the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter, and the Chicago Federation of Labor highlights the work of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and City of Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) while recognizing that investment in water infrastructure is vital to the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of America. All these efforts are reliant on creating and filling jobs in the water sector.

The report highlights the benefits that investments in clean water have on the economy, both locally and statewide. For every $1 billion invested in clean water infrastructure, approximately 6,200 direct jobs are created in construction or water and sewage facilities, and 11,200 total jobs are created throughout the economy. Additionally, every $1 billion investment brings an 8% one-year GDP return on investment.

“America's economy runs on water,” said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos. “Between the City of Chicago and the MWRD, hundreds of thousands of annual jobs will be supported and billions in economic output will be produced over the next decade. When we invest in water, we put people to work, support economic growth and build a stronger foundation for our nation.”

In 2014 alone, the MWRD and DWM created or saved a total of 19,400 jobs and reduced the regional unemployment rate by .73%.

“We are fortunate to have one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water right outside our front door, in Lake Michigan and all our Great Lakes,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “Thanks to an initial investment by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the City of Chicago Department of Water Management in 2014, we have already begun to see the economic and environmental benefits of investing in clean water projects in the Chicago area, namely job creation and increased worker productivity thanks to improved regional health. We need to build on this success and focus on upgrading and repairing the state's clean water infrastructure.”

“Protecting Lake Michigan and restoring our rivers are not only essential for public health but also significantly contributes to a healthy economy,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter.

For their roles in publishing the report, the MWRD Board of Commissioners honored the organizations with a resolution.

“Investments in clean water benefit the whole economy by making businesses and households run more smoothly, with less frequent disruptions from leaks, contamination and other water infrastructure failures,” said Frank Manzo, policy director at ILEPI and an author of the report.