In the midst of polarizing fiscal choices facing state and local governments, American technological innovation promises solutions. The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued its sobering April 2011 update. Running its fiscal simulation model for a long-term forecast, the report concludes that the fiscal position for state and local governments “will steadily decline through 2060 absent any policy changes.” Looming in the background, even before the economic downturn, stand complex drinking water and wastewater treatment system infrastructure needs.

While we continue to engage in a debate on environmental policies and laws in the shadow of the governmental fiscal climate, American innovation in environmental, nanotechnology, energy, and information technologies is a brightening note. One practical example is the Artemis Project, which just announced its list of the top 50 water technology innovators. Hadronex’s SmartCover combines IT savvy with industry experience and engineering skills to prevent sewer overflows, a nationally litigious issue. Another example is the newly-formed Water Technology Innovation Cluster, which will accelerate commercialization of water technologies, such as green infrastructures.

In the hands of talented leaders adapting to challenging fiscal trends, American cutting-edge ingenuity is just what the economic doctor ordered.