Fresno State’s International Center for Water Technology received a grant of up to $1.12 million from the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board to continue its nationally-recognized research and partnerships with industry and government agencies.
“The Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board recognizes that water is the lifeblood for much of our Valley’s economy, and a primary source for jobs,” said Blake Konczal, director of the board. “We are pleased to support the work of Fresno State’s International Center for Water Technology in its role with the area water cluster and development of new water technologies.”
The board awarded Fresno State a $124,541 grant with options through 2019. If all options are renewed the contracts will total $1,120,890.
The agreement follows a five-year grant from the board that concluded in September.
“We’re excited to be able to continue to support economic development in the Central Valley through expansion of the water cluster and water technology activities,” said Daniel Clawson, project manager for the International Center for Water Technology. “This funding will allow our staff to continue to encourage new innovation and technology in all segments of the water field. We’ve worked with 35 companies the last 1 1/2 years to foster new ideas in the sector, and we’re looking forward to encouraging the growth of even more new and existing companies.”
The grant will help the center continue to develop partnerships with city and county water planning and conservation departments, area industries, state and federal legislators and water resource agencies, as well as educational institutions. The staff will continue to provide assistance to water cluster members through their quarterly meetings that bring together leaders from industry, government and education fields to examine relevant topics.
The International Center for Water Technology is one of several water research organizations located on the Fresno State campus that include the Center for Irrigation Technology, the California Water Institute and the Water, Energy and Technology Center. Fresno State is also a partner in the Blue-Tech-Valley initiative – partnership between Fresno State, government, water agencies and private industry to make the San Joaquin Valley the hub of water research and technological innovation to serve worldwide needs.
“Over the past 10 years of this contract, the ICWT has developed a reputation as a leader in the field after it created the nation’s first water cluster,” said Helle Petersen, director for the Water, Energy and Technology Center. “Just like Silicon Valley was an innovative hot spot that fostered the tech boom, we’re trying to create a similar critical mass of companies in the water technology field to gravitate here. Fresno is an obvious choice to build partnerships because of its reputation as a world leader in agricultural production, so we have a unique set of resources and connections to link companies to a sophisticated network of growers and processors.”
Water management research and technology has been a major emphasis under second-year University President Joseph I. Castro. His Commission for the Future of Agriculture targeted the theme in its May report, while a team of faculty and community members look to publish its report this spring.