For decades, Baton Rouge-based businesses have been focused on creating solutions for water issues—which means we have companies and a specialized workforce leading the charge in this rapidly growing sector. In fact, Baton Rouge has 63 percent more water-related jobs than the average U.S. community of our size, with a growth rate of 3 percent expected by 2024. Baton Rouge’s water sector includes world-class specialized contractors, manufacturers and engineering firms. As demand for water research grows, Baton Rouge will become the epicenter for expertise and execution. The momentum of science is happening in Baton Rouge, which makes it a top location for private investment.
Baton Rouge’s university network cultivates a uniquely skilled workforce for the water sector. The state’s flagship university, Louisiana State University (LSU), is home to a number of top academic programs that create tailored talent for the water sector, including the LSU Environmental Engineering Program and LSU College of the Coast and the Environment. With a high number of completers in these specialized fields, businesses can find the right talent right here in Baton Rouge.
Companies in the water sector may qualify for state incentives, including:
- Research and Development Tax Credit: A tax credit up to 30 percent to existing businesses with operating facilities in Louisiana to establish or continue research and development within the state.
- Quality Jobs Program: Up to a 6 percent rebate on annual payroll expenses for up to 10 years and either a state sales/use tax rebate on capital expenses or a 1.5 percent project facility expense rebate for qualifying expenses.
- Enterprize Zone Program: Either a $3,500 or $1,000 tax credit for each certified net, new job created and either a state sales/use tax rebate on capital expenses or 1.5 percent investment tax credit for qualifying expenses.
- LED FastStart: The top workforce development program in the country, FastStart provides customized employee recruitment, screening, training development and training delivery for eligible, new or expanding companies — all at no cost.
The Water Campus is a 36-acre, $60 million, world-class collaborative research campus devoted to the study of coastal restoration and sustainability. The first of its kind in the country, The Water Campus offers more than 1.8 million square feet of labs, research facilities and commercial space to enable water sector innovators to work in a collaborative environment. Current research tenants on The Water Campus include the Water Institute of the Gulf, the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), and the LSU Center for River Studies.
Headquartered at the Water Campus, CPRA is established as the single state entity with authority to focus development and implementation efforts to achieve comprehensive coastal protection for Louisiana. The CPRA works with federal, state, and local governments and leverages the expertise and resources of various state agencies to establish a safe and sustainable coast that will protect local communities, the nation’s critical energy infrastructure, and the region’s bountiful natural resources. CPRA’s first-of-its-kind, $50 billion master plan for coastal restoration will result in thousands of new jobs in the water management sector.
The Water Institute of the Gulf is a not-for-profit, independent applied research and technical services institution with a mission to help coastal and deltaic communities thoughtfully prepare for an uncertain future. Through an integrated and interdisciplinary approach, its work helps create more resilient communities, thriving economies, and a healthy environment. The Institute’s expertise has been sought for projects around the world, including in Latin America, Vietnam, the Netherlands, Samoa, Child, the Pacific Islands, and the Nile Delta, to name a few.
The LSU Center for River Studies conducts research on the world’s major rivers with a specific focus on the Mississippi River. The Center trains the next generation of engineers, geologists and river experts on its 10,000 square foot movable bed physical model of the lower Mississippi River – one of the largest such models in the world.
With a $160 million annual research portfolio, LSU is committed to solving the problems faced by the city, the country, and the world. For example, the Water Campus closely collaborates with LSU through the LSU Center for River Studies, where students apply theory on a to-scale model of the lower Mississippi River.
SDMI sits at the intersection between practitioners and academic researchers by fostering collaboration between the two to solve challenging problems related to disaster response. LSU has been selected as a participant of the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a United States Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate Center of Excellence. SDMI is partnered with LSU’s Sea Grant and will be integrating SDMI’s Storm Surge Consequence Model into LSU’s CERA website which provides emergency managers with accurate extends and depths of storm surge.