Profiting from a Water Crisis

A growing water crisis in California has become an opportunity for some to cash in. Private firms and landowners that have stored spare water are selling to the highest bidder.
July 8, 2014, 1pm PDT | jkress39
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"Water is set to become the most valuable resource on earth, even more precious than oil," says Ophélie Mortier of the finance firm Petercam. "Corporations should adapt to this reality and integrate it into their daily operations. But luckily, this also opens up investment opportunities.”

The recent water shortages in California have allowed private firms and landowners that have stored spare water to sell to the highest bidder. Some worry that "the rush to pump banked water for sale might result in some wells running dry by the end of the summer" says Sarah Goodyear of Next City.

This mad dash for water has exposed the complicated water management system of California, with responsibility being shared at the local level and "competition between agricultural, environmental, industrial and urban needs is intense." Richard Howitt, professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, told the AP “if you have a really scarce natural resource that the state’s economy depends on, it would be nice to have it run efficiently and transparently."

So while water districts might be cashing in by selling water now, we all need to be thinking more about the true value of water going forward, says Goodyear.

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Published on Monday, July 7, 2014 in Next City
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