Blog  /  October 2017  /  Q3 2017 Regional Roundup: Part 3/3

Blog Post Teaser

This blog series examines major trends and newsworthy events that occurred in the US water industry during the third quarter of 2017.  The third part of the series focuses on activity within the Midwest/Great Lakes and Central Plains regions of the US, as well as grant and funding information related to the water industry.



The Midwest/Great Lakes region consists of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

  • In the third quarter of 2017, the greatest demand for surface, coating, and lining products in the US was seen in the Midwest/Great Lakes region, of which Illinois and Ohio accounted for over half of the region’s total demand.  The Midwest/Great Lakes also represented the largest demand for installation and maintenance work in the US, with Illinois and Michigan accounting for nearly half of the region’s total demand in the third quarter of 2017.
  • Since the 1800s, more than 180 non-native and invasive species have been discovered within the Great Lakes, wreaking havoc on the freshwater source’s ecosystems and warranting the introduction of ballast water regulations and similar prevention methods.  Despite these efforts,  a foreign species of zooplankton was discovered in Lake Erie during 2017, after nearly a decade of no new detections.  The rotifer species, Brachionus leydigii, is believed to have entered the water system though the ballast water discharged by ships travelling up the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The impact it may have on the Lake’s ecosystem is presently unknown, but may be cause for a strengthening of discharge regulations.
  • Flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey has brought attention to the flood preparation procedures of other major cities across the country.  For example, Chicago’s primary water management effort to control flooding is the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), which involves the construction of nearly 110 miles of underground wastewater tunnels.  The tunnel system, which is projected to be completed by 2029, is designed to feed flood waters into reservoirs capable of storing a total of 17.5 billion gallons.
  • According to a water quality database focused on the northeast United States, pollution levels for phosphorus, nitrogen, and chlorophyll in more than 740 lakes throughout Minnesota have remained relatively unchanged despite 30 years of agriculture expansion and urban development. 



The Central Plains region consists of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.  

  • During the third quarter of 2017, nearly one-quarter of the region’s demand for stormwater projects occurred in Kansas and Missouri, while more than half of the region’s demand for planning, design, engineering, and consulting services was seen in Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri.
  • In the Central Plains, areas throughout South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana continued to experience severe drought conditions in the third quarter of 2017.  Based on numbers released in a September 2017 report by the USDA, South Dakota farmers’ production of spring wheat and winter wheat crops was the lowest it has been in recent years and  more than 60 percent below long-term norms.  Furthermore, in North Dakota, spring wheat and winter wheat production was forecast to be down 31 percent and 74 percent from last year, respectively.
  • In addition, Montana faced a particularly damaging wildfire season partly as a result of the severe drought.  As of early September, more than one million acres of land in the state had been burned by wildfires.  Forecasts at that time projected the destruction could continue for weeks.



  • In the third quarter of 2017, more than half of financing opportunities in the US water sector were available through government sources, followed by atypical channels such as non-profit organizations and private investors.  For example, California’s Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta Conservancy is offering grants to fund watershed protection and restoration projects aimed at raising water quality standards, protecting wetland ecosystems, and addressing such issues as agricultural sustainability, invasive species, and climate change impacts.
  • More than one-third of funding opportunities within the US water industry during the third quarter of 2017 were associated with research and technology ventures, including the development of technologies focused on water management, watershed deterioration, and other challenges facing communities.
  • Capital directed towards rural communities accounted for nearly 15 percent of the US water industry’s financing opportunities in the third quarter of 2017.  For example, there is funding available for low-income communities in small towns, colonias, and other eligible areas seeking to finance the initial costs of completing federal water and waste disposal applications.