Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Urban and Public Affairs, PhD

Committee Chair

Koven, Steven G.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Kelly, Janet M.

Committee Member

Kelly, Janet M.

Committee Member

Ziegler, Charles E.

Committee Member

Song, Wei

Committee Member

Arnold, Craig Anthony

Author's Keywords

water; technology; clusters; innovation; entrepreneurship


A long list of water technologies has been central to human development throughout history. From the well in ancient times to desalination in the contemporary period, water technologies are needed to produce, distribute and treat water to support human life, industry, agriculture, and environmental health. As human development puts intense pressure on the planet's limited fresh water supplies, society is turning to increasingly innovative water technologies to close the supply-demand gap. The water economy represents a significant share of total economic output it its own right, while at the same time water directly or indirectly underpins all other economic activity. The water technology sector within the water economy has emerged as one of the world’s biggest and most interdisciplinary industries employing scientists, engineers, information technology specialists, and a range of different management and policy professionals. The international market for water technology is large and growing. This market represents a significant business opportunity for individual firms and a local economic development opportunity for regions seeking to develop dynamic industrial clusters that vi provide high paying jobs. This opportunity has motivated governments around the world to pursue policies to support water technology firms in what has historically been a highly fragmented industry which was highly dependent on local investments in public water infrastructure. To understand the growth and development of water technology clusters, this study utilizes a nine-part cluster development strategy developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support its own clean technology initiatives. The applicability of the model was tested using case studies of six clusters – three in the United States, and one each in The Netherlands, Singapore, and Israel. An analysis of the case studies shows a high correlation between the EPA strategy model and the policies and practices pursued in each cluster. This suggests that this strategy-model could be used by policy makers and planners in other regions as a framework for analyzing growing or mature water technology clusters, or a framework to drive the development of nascent or emerging water technology clusters.