Water management will play a major role in Southeast Louisiana's economy over the years to come, according to a new report released by research organization The Data Center.

The state has been busy dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and much of the work linked with that has revolved around water management projects, such as improving interior drainage systems and the New Orleans area levee system. Over the next few years such activity is going to pick up again, as a number of coastal restoration projects are expected to roll out. A significant proportion of these will be funded by fines imposed by state and federal agencies on oil and gas companies that have caused damage to the environment, including BP with its Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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In its report, The Data Canter found that Louisiana was engaged in water management projects to a greater extent than the national average. Using an economic formula known as a "location quotient," researchers estimated that water-related businesses in the state ranked at 1.3 last year, or higher than the average for the United States. This quotient means that Louisiana is "exporting" services in water-related businesses and the revenues are returning to the state. Admittedly, it is not as high as it is for other industries, such as energy and petrochemicals, but it is much higher than the location quotient for advanced manufacturing, digital media and biosciences, the report concludes.