College of Business and Innovation

COBI professor assessing financial damage from water crisis

Dr. Andrew Solocha

The memories of last year's water crisis in and around Toledo are still fresh in the minds of most residents, and the anxiety about a repeat event in 2015 is high.

But a University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation professor is hard at work at one of the critical issues surrounding last year's 3-day event: namely, what was the economic impact of the 2014 Toledo water crisis on the local economy.

Furthermore, if you have information that could contribute to the report, he would love to hear from you.

Dr. Andrew Solocha, Professor in the Department of Finance in the UT College of Business and Innovation, along with Dr. Neil Reid, Director of The University of Toledo Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center, are currently researching that very issue, funded by a grant from the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago. They began their research in May, and will have an initial impact report by the end of August.

"Lake Erie is an enormously important resource," Dr. Solocha said.  "I didn't know anything about the science behind this, but I was really concerned about what happened here last year, and so I volunteered my time for this research. We envision a series of reports, the first one in August about the three days from last year, and then other reports over time."

"My training is in economics, data and model building, and for this research and report it is essential to have someone with experience in both business and economics, because we have to interpret this data, find out what the data is saying to us; sometimes it doesn't say anything at all.  We have to go and interview people, and people can be confused or have misinformation.  This is a work in progress, and we don't yet know where all the answers are to make this complete."

"We need to be able to assess what the damages - - all the damages - - are.  We know several sectors that were impacted by the 2014 water crisis, including hospitals, the food processing industry, restaurants, tourism and consumers, plus we will probably see an impact on housing," Dr. Solocha said.

"But there may be impacts that we can't see, and there could be a long-term impact. For example, people who typically go to Lake Erie beaches who have decided that now they can't go there in the future because of the negative publicity for the region."

"Of course, there was also good news, such as the charities who came out, mobilized and helped," he observed. "For example, the American Red Cross brought in water for people, and the National Guard distributed water and food."

"The University of Toledo has been fantastic in helping us with this project, as have other organizations such as the United Way of Greater Toledo.  It is absolutely critical that people know we are working on this report and that they help us." Dr. Solocha said.

If you have information you would like to share about the economic impact of the 2014 water crisis, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Solocha at Andrew.Solocha@utoledo.edu.

Last Updated: 11/3/16