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Cash aids water-technology center

By Robert Rodriguez
The Fresno Bee

(Published Tuesday, March 11, 2003, 5:48 AM)

The International Center for Water Technology has received a $1.8 million boost from the federal government for the planning and preliminary construction on the first phase of the $60 million center on the California State University, Fresno, campus.

The project — a joint venture between Fresno State and the San Joaquin Valley Water Technology Cluster — is envisioned as a leading center for water research and development.

"Our very long-term goal is to make the Central Valley the Silicon Valley of water technology," said Dan Clawson, project manager. "We want it to be a magnet."

Clawson said architects are working on the design and size of the project’s first building, expected to be completed this year. The facility will provide water meter testing for the agricultural market and independent certification for water meters used by wastewater-treatment plants.

Job and economic-development officials are hopeful that the ambitious plans for making Fresno the hub of water technology will lead to more jobs and growth in the industry. That’s also the desire of the San Joaquin Valley Water Technology Cluster, an organization of more than 40 manufacturers of water-related products. A majority of those companies are between Bakersfield and Stockton.

"The International Center for Water Technology is an exciting project for the San Joaquin Valley, and this allocation will allow the project to move forward," said Fresno State President John Welty.

Among those helping to secure the $1.8 million allocation were Reps. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa; Bill Thomas, R-Bakersfield; Cal Dooley, D-Fresno; and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Project officials will submit additional requests for federal funding and are working on private donations.

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