Thursday, August 10, 2006

Water Industry Growth

The New York Times:
Everyone knows there is a lot of money to be made in oil. But a fresh group of big businesses is discovering there may be even greater profit in a more prosaic liquid: water.

“You’ve got exploding urban populations, increased pollution and a need to address those things in a meaningful way,’’ said Ian Barbour, general manager of Dow Chemical’s Water Solutions unit. “Of course, we’re investing significantly in the water business.”

Most analysts expect the water market in the United States to be worth at least $150 billion by 2010. And it may happen even sooner than that. Arid cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix already grapple with sporadic water shortages. New York City’s water — once lauded for its purity — is getting cloudy, and the American Society of Civil Engineers has given the pipes and other parts of the country’s creaky water system a D minus.

Globally, water problems are even more immediate. Many experts estimate that water-related equipment and services already make up a $400 billion global market.

“Water is a growth driver for as long and far as the eye can see,’’ said Deane M. Dray, who follows many water companies for Goldman Sachs.