Good Water is Good for Business

May 6, 2015 | Citizen Advocacy, Clear Water Business Consortium

Beer BottlesAs the calendar turns to May, we’re making final preparations for our River Bash event May 19 from 5:30-8:30pm at the beautiful and historic Memorial Union, on the UW-Madison campus and the shores of Lake Mendota.

Of course, water is the preferred setting for many of our events and this one is no exception. And while we love to have fun on the water, this year’s River Bash event spotlights a different yet critically important area: The Intersection of Water and Business. We will showcase many of our Blue Water Business Consortium partners and we hope you’ll join us. You will be inspired, engaged and prompted to think more about how and where you choose to spend your hard-earned dollars.

The Blue Water Business Consortium launched last year, bringing together business owners from a cross-section of industries and every corner of the state whose very livelihood depends on protecting our water resources. We’ve all heard the hyperbolic phrase, “Wisconsin is open for business.” But at the same time, we were connecting with and hearing from business owners of all shapes and sizes and political stripes who share a common concern for protecting the water resources they rely on for their businesses to succeed.  We heard a few of them testify before the legislature; others spoke out about pressing water issues they were facing in their local communities. From tourism, dining and recreation to farming, brewing and real estate, what does “open for business” mean if clean water is your livelihood and Wisconsin’s water is in jeopardy?

It became clear we needed to work together to help elevate the small business voice for clean and plentiful water in Wisconsin. Consider the following statistics:

  • If tourism were a corporation, it would be the fifth largest Fortune 500 business in Wisconsin, with revenues exceeding $16 billion.
  • In 2013, Wisconsin had more than $1.5 billion of real estate change hands that was connected to water.
  • The craft beer industry alone contributed more than $850 million to the Wisconsin economy in 2012.

Our members are outfitters, farmers, realtors, restaurant owners, brewers, gallery owners, retailers and more. In addition to running their own businesses, they share their time and talent advocating to protect and respect the water resources on which we all depend. The argument that environmental protection hurts businesses is outdated and inaccurate, and the Blue Water Business Consortium partners demonstrate that clean water is a major driver of Wisconsin’s economy.

We hope to see you at River Bash as we spotlight the great work of our Blue Water Business Consortium partners!