Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin’s expertise in the water industry might pair well with Japanese firms seeking growth.
Earth is sometimes called the water planet: Two-thirds of its surface is covered with water. It is said that there are about 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of water on Earth. However, the amount of fresh water available for human use as domestic or industrial water amounts to only about 0.8% of all water. Most fresh water exists as rivers, lakes, or underground.
Japan is a nation with heavy rainfall—average annual precipitation is 68 inches, more than twice the world average of 32 inches. With its high population density, however, water resources per capita in Japan are only half the world average. In fact, Japan is ranked 91st of 156 countries in the world for water availability per capita.
Despite restricted water resources, advancements in technology have allowed Japan to maintain continuous economic growth even though demands have increased for both for industrial use of water and for drinking water.
Japan uses specialized membranes for water filtration and has developed technology for earthquake resistance and leakage prevention. As a result, the country has achieved world-leading, highly efficient water resource management. The recovery rate of industrial water has increased to nearly 80%, while the leakage rate of water supplies is less than 10%.
Japan's technology and experience in water management can contribute to the world by expanding internationally.
However, most Japanese water projects have been conducted as public works. Therefore, private companies have limited knowledge about business operation and management, and they lag behind European companies. A council has been established to integrate the strengths of Japan’s water technologies with the management skills found in Japan’s public sector.
Wisconsin companies in the water industry may find opportunities to work with Japan’s private companies, and those collaborations could promote technological advancement in both locations.