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Economic Impact of Water Crisis Estimated At Millions

Reported: Feb. 4, 2014 4:01 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 4, 2014 4:20 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va -- The West Virginia water crisis has had a multimillion impact on economic output in the nine affected counties and affected thousands of workers, according to a Marshall University investigation.

The MU Center for Business and Economic Research said in a news release on Tuesday that it estimates the impact on economic output to be more than $19 million for each business day the do-not-use-the-water ban was fully in place (not including any multiplier effects). The center said this amounts to about 24 percent of the economic activity of the affected area.

Over the four days immediately following the ban, the total affected output is estimated to be about $61 million, including two business and two weekend days. Additional output was affected in the days following, as some areas were still unable to use water, but this impact was not included.

The center said the estimate includes affected output at establishments where clean water is an essential component of services or a vital input to production, such as schools, medical offices, restaurants, hotels and some retail. Establishments in some industries, such as hospitals and nursing homes, continued operating, but had to use alternate water sources. Many of the affected retail establishments are likely to have seen deferred sales and "thus recover all or a portion of lost revenues." The center said state and local government and industries such as mining and construction, which were not directly affected by the ban, were assumed to be unaffected.

Meanwhile, the number of affected workers is estimated to have been nearly 75,000 for each business day the ban was fully in place, representing about 41 percent of area workers, the center said.



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