Senator Erik Wells, (D) Kanawha/Putnam, has introduced legislation in the West Virginia Senate that would create a center of innovation for water cleanliness and sustainability at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston. Senate bill 622 would create the “West Virginia Water Sustainability Institute.” The mission of the Institute would be to develop and commercialize innovative technologies to maintain, improve, and protect water supplies throughout West Virginia.
“West Virginia is blessed with abundant supplies of water and we must value our water as much as we value any natural resource,” Wells said. “I have proposed the creation of the Water Sustainability Institute that will use sound science to research and develop new technologies to remove or reduce containments before they might reach the public.”
By 2025, it is predicted that two-thirds of world’s population will live in water-stressed areas. Wells believes that the Institute will create technologies that will protect West Virginian’s abundant water supply while also creating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) jobs locally as global demand for clean water technologies grow.
“West Virginia can lead in the area of clean water innovation, just as we lead in other industries, Wells said. “ In fact, most industries interact with and require water. The West Virginia Water Sustainability Institute will not only help our traditional industries and create jobs in West Virginia, but more importantly will help ensure clean and abundant water supplies for the people of the Mountain State. Through this initiative, West Virginia can lead in clean water technology.”
Matthew Ballard, President and CEO of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce said the Chamber is supporting this innovative public-private partnership.
“We support the creation of this Institute and its use of science in aiding our state to have clean water,” Ballard said. “This is a market driven solution. We can help our State, but also utilize the global market demand for clean water solutions to create good jobs.”