As part of the Water Institute's WaterTalks lecture series, Alex Mayer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University, presents, "Developing the Great Lakes’ Blue Economy: Water productivity, water depletion, and virtual water trade in the Great Lakes basin."
Coffee and light refreshments provided.
The Great Lakes basin hosts the world’s most abundant surface fresh water reserve, with the potential for the region to sustainably utilize its relative water wealth for economic benefit. We combine economic production and trade data sets with water consumption data and models of surface water depletion in the region to determine the virtual water imports and exports for the US portion of the basin.
Commercial water uses are the most productive, as measured by the ratio of trade to water use for the sector, with thermoelectric, mining, and agricultural water uses in the lowest tier of water productivity. Surprisingly for such a water-abundant economy, the region is a net importer of water-derived goods and services.
We find that, on average, the current economy does not create significant impacts on surface waters, but there is some risk that unregulated large water uses can create environmental flow impacts if they are developed in the wrong locations. This finding, combined with the abundance of surface water, suggests that the region’s water-based economy has room to grow in the 21st century.
Alex Mayer, a Charles and Patricia Nelson Presidential Professor in the Department of Geological Mining and Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Tech University, has teaching interests that include groundwater flow and transport and subsurface remediation. He is the winner of Michigan Tech's 2015 Research Award for his transdisciplinary work in water resource issues.
Will also be viewable remotely via Livestream.
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1