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Blue Jobs for North Carolina: a role for water in economic development

Executive Summary

This policy brief explores the conceptual connections between water and economic development—what we refer to as “blue jobs”—with a specific focus on encouraging green (environmentally and ecologically-friendly) water-infrastructure technologies. Water systems in the U.S. are currently degraded and overextended, requiring critical improvements in both wastewater and drinking-water facilities, and population growth will require additional facilities in the future. Blue-green infrastructure (BGI) can address these critical issues while simultaneously generating needed jobs in many sectors of the job market and promoting overall economic growth. This brief—developed at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Global Research Institute under the “Making Scarce Water Work for All” theme—recommends policy initiatives to promote the creation and expansion of environmentally and ecologically-friendly water infrastructure in North Carolina in an effort to reap economic benefits, improve individual health status, and build resiliency in the face of the climate-change threat.