Michigan Water Project Could Stimulate New Agribusiness

Karegnondi Pipeline Should be Agribusiness Booster

An ambitious public infrastructure project known as the Karegnondi pipeline is about to get underway in Blue Water Area of Michigan. The project will bring water from Lake Huron at Worth Township to its final destination in Genesee County, 64 miles and three counties distant.

The massive water project is the largest such infrastructure undertaking since 1997’s Blue Water Bridge was finished at a cost of a bit more than $ 1 billion. The Karegnondi pipeline, named for the Native American word for lake, is expected to stimulate the development of an agribusiness alley in and along Interstate 69.

“There’s a lot of reasons why that corridor makes a lot of sense,”

said David Haynes, director of new business attraction for the St. Clair County Economic Development Alliance.

Construction of the pipeline is going to begin in early 2013, according to director of water and waste service for the Genesee County Drain Commission John O’Brien.

“We are waiting on an Army Corps of Engineers permit which is our last permit,” O’Brien said. “We expect it anytime.”

Haynes added that the idea of a 60-inch pipeline carrying untreated water from Lake Huron alongside Interstate 69 together with a CN rail line through prime agricultural real estate could most definitely prove desirable to agribusiness.

The fact that the water is raw makes it even more attractive, Haynes said. Farmers don not need their water chlorinated for their irrigation sprinklers, and food processors treat the water they get according to their own needs.

“As an example … in Ontario you have Nestle and you have Campbells,” he said. “When you have access to that raw water, especially for cleaning of the product, that has a lot of advantages. It definitely can play in favor of developing that agricultural corridor. It’s really exciting.”

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