Wall Street Mega-Banks Are Buying Up The World’s Water

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A disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new “water barons” — the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires — are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.

Familiar mega-banks and investing powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Macquarie Bank, Barclays Bank, the Blackstone Group, Allianz, and HSBC Bank, among others, are consolidating their control over water. Wealthy tycoons such as T. Boone Pickens, former President George H.W. Bush and his family, Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, Philippines’ Manuel V. Pangilinan and other Filipino billionaires, and others are also buying thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities, and shares in water engineering and technology companies all over the world.

The second disturbing trend is that while the new water barons are buying up water all over the world, governments are moving fast to limit citizens’ ability to become water self-sufficient (as evidenced by the well-publicized Gary Harrington’s case in Oregon, in which the state criminalized the collection of rainwater in three ponds located on his private land, by convicting him on nine counts and sentencing him for 30 days in jail). Let’s put this criminalization in perspective:

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens owned more water rights than any other individuals in America, with rights over enough of the Ogallala Aquifer to drain approximately 200,000 acre-feet (or 65 billion gallons of water) a year. But ordinary citizen Gary Harrington cannot collect rainwater runoff on 170 acres of his private land.

It’s a strange New World Order in which multibillionaires and elitist banks can own aquifers and lakes, but ordinary citizens cannot even collect rainwater and snow runoff in their own backyards and private lands.

“Water is the oil of the 21st century.” Andrew Liveris, CEO of DOW Chemical Company (quoted in The Economist magazine, August 21, 2008)

In 2008, I wrote an article,

“Why Big Banks May Be Buying up Your Public Water System,” in which I detailed how both mainstream and alternative media coverage on water has tended to focus on individual corporations and super-investors seeking to control water by buying up water rights and water utilities. But paradoxically the hidden story is a far more complicated one. I argued that the real story of the global water sector is a convoluted one involving “interlocking globalized capital”: Wall Street and global investment firms, banks, and other elite private-equity firms — often transcending national boundaries to partner with each other, with banks and hedge funds, with technology corporations and insurance giants, with regional public-sector pension funds, and with sovereign wealth funds — are moving rapidly into the water sector to buy up not only water rights and water-treatment technologies, but also to privatize public water utilities and infrastructure.

Now, in 2012, we are seeing this trend of global consolidation of water by elite banks and tycoons accelerating. In a JP Morgan equity research document, it states clearly that “Wall Street appears well aware of the investment opportunities in water supply infrastructure, wastewater treatment, and demand management technologies.” Indeed, Wall Street is preparing to cash in on the global water grab in the coming decades. For example, Goldman Sachs has amassed more than $10 billion since 2006 for infrastructure investments, which include water. A 2008 New York Times article mentioned Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and the Carlyle Group, to have “amassed an estimated an estimated $250 billion war chest — must of it raised in the last two years — to finance a tidal wave of infrastructure projects in the United States and overseas.”

By “water,” I mean that it includes water rights (i.e., the right to tap groundwater, aquifers, and rivers), land with bodies of water on it or under it (i.e., lakes, ponds, and natural springs on the surface, or groundwater underneath), desalination projects, water-purification and treatment technologies (e.g., desalination, treatment chemicals and equipment), irrigation and well-drilling technologies, water and sanitation services and utilities, water infrastructure maintenance and construction (from pipes and distribution to all scales of treatment plants for residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal uses), water engineering services (e.g., those involved in the design and construction of water-related facilities), and retail water sector (such as those involved in the production, operation, and sales of bottled water, water vending machines, bottled water subscription and delivery services, water trucks, and water tankers).

Update of My 2008 Article: Mega-Banks See Water as a Critical Commodity

Since 2008, many giant banks and super-investors are capturing more market share in the water sector and identifying water as a critical commodity, much hotter than petroleum.

Goldman Sachs: Water Is Still the Next Petroleum

In 2008, Goldman Sachs called water “the petroleum for the next century” and those investors who know how to play the infrastructure boom will reap huge rewards, during its annual “Top Five Risks” conference. Water is a U.S.$425 billion industry, and a calamitous water shortage could be a more serious threat to humanity in the 21st century than food and energy shortages, according to Goldman Sachs’s conference panel. Goldman Sachs has convened numerous conferences and also published lengthy, insightful analyses of water and other critical sectors (food, energy).

Goldman Sachs is positioning itself to gobble up water utilities, water engineering companies, and water resources worldwide. Since 2006, Goldman Sachs has become one of the largest infrastructure investment fund managers and has amassed a $10 billion capital for infrastructure, including water.

In March 2012, Goldman Sachs was eyeing Veolia’s UK water utility business, estimated at £1.2 billion, and in July it successfully bought Veolia Water, which serves 3.5 million people in southeastern England.

Previously, in September 2003, Goldman Sachs partnered with one of the world’s largest private-equity firm Blackstone Group and Apollo Management to acquire Ondeo Nalco (a leading company in providing water-treatment and process chemicals and services, with more than 10,000 employees and operations in 130 countries) from French water corporation Suez S.A. for U.S.$4.2 billion.

In October 2007, Goldman Sachs teamed up with Deutsche Bank and several partners to bid, unsuccessfully, for U.K.’s Southern Water. In November 2007, Goldman Sachs was also unsuccessful in bidding for U.K. water utility Kelda. But Goldman Sachs is still looking to buy other water utilities.

In January 2008, Goldman Sachs led a team of funds (including Liberty Harbor Master Fund and the Pinnacle Fund) to buy U.S.$50 million of convertible notes in China Water and Drinks Inc., which supplies purified water to name-brand vendors like Coca-Cola and Taiwan’s top beverage company Uni-President. China Water and Drinks is also a leading producer and distributor of bottled water in China and also makes private-labeled bottled water (e.g., for Sands Casino, Macau). Since China has one of the worse water problems in Asia and a large emerging middle class, its bottled-water sector is the fastest-growing in the world and it’s seeing enormous profits. Additionally, China’s acute water shortages and serious pollution could “buoy demand for clean water for years to come, with China’s $14.2 billion water industry a long-term investment destination” (Reuters, January 28, 2008).

The City of Reno, Nevada, was approached by Goldman Sachs for “a long-term asset leasing that could potentially generate significant cash for the three TMWA [Truckee Meadows Water Authority] entities. The program would allow TMWA to lease its assets for 50 years and receive an up-front cash payment” (Reno News & Review, August 28, 2008). Essentially, Goldman Sachs wants to privatize Reno’s water utility for 50 years. Given Reno’s revenue shortfall, this proposal was financially attractive. But the water board eventually rejected the proposal due to strong public opposition and outcry.

Citigroup: The Water Market Will Soon Eclipse Oil, Agriculture, and Precious Metals

Citigroup’s top economist Willem Buitler said in 2011 that the water market will soon be hotter the oil market (for example, see this and this):

“Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals.”

In its recent 2012 Water Investment Conference, Citigroup has identified top 10 trends in the water sector, as follows:

1. Desalination systems
2. Water reuse technologies
3. Produced water / water utilities
4. Membranes for filtration
5. Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection
6. Ballast-water treatment technologies
7. Forward osmosis used in desalination
8. Water-efficiency technologies and products
9. Point-of-use treatment systems
10. Chinese competitors in water

Specifically, a lucrative opportunity in water is in hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), as it generates massive demand for water and water services. Each oil well developed requires 3 to 5 million gallons of water, and 80% of this water cannot be reused because it’s three to 10 times saltier than seawater. Citigroup recommends water-rights owners sell water to fracking companies instead of to farmers because water for fracking can be sold for as much as $3,000 per acre-foot instead of only $50 per acre/foot to farmers.

The ballast-water treatment sector, currently at $1.35 billion annually, is estimated to reach $30 to $50 billion soon. The water-filtration market is expected to outgrow the water-equipment market: Dow estimates it to be a $5 billion market annually instead of only $1 billion now.

Citigroup is aggressively raising funds for its war chest to participate in the coming tidal wave of infrastructure privatization: in 2007 it established a new unit called Citi Infrastructure Investors through its Citi Alternative Investments unit. According to Reuters, Citigroup “assembled some of the biggest names in the infrastructure business at the same time it is building a $3 billion fund, including $500 million of its own capital. The fund, according to a person familiar with the situation, will have only a handful of outside investors and will be focused on assets in developed markets” (May 16, 2007). Citigroup initially sought only U.S.$3 billion for its first infrastructure fund but was seeking U.S.$5 billion in April 2008 (Bloomberg, April 7, 2008).

Citigroup partnered with HSBC Bank, Prudential, and other minor partners to acquire U.K.’s water utility Kelda (Yorkshire Water) in November 2007. This week, Citigroup signed a 99-year lease with the City of Chicago for Chicago’s Midway Airport (it partnered with John Hancock Life Insurance Company and a Canadian private airport operator). Insiders said that Citigroup is among those bidding for the state-owned company Letiste Praha which operates the Prague Airport in the Czech Republic (Bloomberg, February 7, 2008).

As the five U.K. water utility deals illustrate, typically no one single investment bank or private-equity fund owns the entire infrastructure project — they partner with many others. The Citigroup is now entering India’s massive infrastructure market by partnering the Blackstone Group and two Indian private finance companies; they have launched a U.S.$5 billion fund in February 2007, with three entities (Citi, Blackstone, and IDFC) jointly investing U.S.$250 million. India requires about U.S.$320 billion in infrastructure investments in the next five years (The Financial Express, February 16, 2007).

UBS: Water Scarcity Is the Defining Crisis of the 21st Century

In 2006, UBS Investment Research, a division of Switzerland-based UBS AG, Europe’s largest bank by assets, entitled its 40-page research report, “Q-Series®:Water”—“Water scarcity: The defining crisis of the 21st century?” (October 10, 2006) In 2007, UBS, along with JP Morgan and Australia’s Challenger Fund, bought UK’s Southern Water for £4.2biillion.

Credit Suisse: Water Is the “Paramount Megatrend of Our Time”

Credit Suisse published its report about Credit Suisse Water Index (January 21, 2008) urged investors that “One way to take advantage of this trend is to invest in companies geared to water generation, preservation, infrastructure treatment and desalination. The Index enables investors to participate in the performance of the most attractive companies….” The trend in question, according to Credit Suisse, is the “depletion of freshwater reserves” attributable to “pollution, disappearance of glaciers (the main source of freshwater reserves), and population growth, water is likely to become a scarce resource.”

Credit Suisse recognizes water to be the “paramount megatrend of our time” because of a water-supply crisis might cause “severe societal risk” in the next 10 years and that two-thirds of the world’s population are likely to live under water-stressed conditions by 2025. To address water shortages, it has identified desalination and wastewater treatment as the two most important technologies. Three sectors for good investments include the following:

§ Membranes for desalination and wastewater treatment
§ Water infrastructure — corrosion resistance, pipes, valves, and pumps
§ Chemicals for water treatment

It also created the Credit Suisse Water Index which has the equally weighed index of 30 stocks out of 128 global water stocks. For investors, it offered “Credit Suisse PL100 World Water Trust (PL100 World Water),” launched in June 2007, with $112.9 million.

Credit Suisse partnered with General Electric (GE Infrastructure) in May 2006 to establish a U.S.$1 billion joint venture to profit from privatization and investments in global infrastructure assets. Each partner will commit U.S.$500 million to target electricity generation and transmission, gas storage and pipelines, water facilities, airports, air traffic control, ports, railroads, and toll roads worldwide. This joint venture has estimated that the developed market’s infrastructure opportunities are at U.S.$500 billion, and emerging world’s infrastructure market is U.S.$1 trillion in the next five years (Credit Suisse’s press release, May 31, 2006).

In October 2007, Credit Suisse partnered with Cleantech Group (a Michigan-based market-research, consulting, media, and executive-search firm that operates cleantech forums) and Consensus Business Group (a London-based equity firm owned by U.K. billionaire Vincent Tchenguiz) to invest in clean technologies worldwide. The technologies will also clean water technologies.

During its Asian Investment Conference, it said that “Water is a focus for those in the know about global strategic commodities. As with oil, the supply is finite but demand is growing by leaps and unlike oil there is no alternative.” (Credit Suisse, February 4, 2008). Credit Suisse sees the global water market with U.S.$190 billion in revenue in 2005 and was expected to grow to U.S.$342 billion by 2010. It sees most significant growth opportunities in China.

JPMorgan Chase: Build Infrastructure War Chests to Buy Water, Utilities, and Public Infrastructure Worldwide

One of the world’s largest banks, JPMorgan Chase has aggressively pursued water and infrastructure worldwide. In October 2007, it beat out rivals Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to buy U.K.’s water utility Southern Water with partners Swiss-based UBS and Australia’s Challenger Infrastructure Fund. This banking empire is controlled by the Rockefeller family; the family patriarch David Rockefeller is a member of the elite and secretive Bilderberg Group, Council on Foreign Relations, and Trilateral Commission.

JPMorgan sees infrastructure finance as a global phenomenon, and it is joined by its global peers in investment and banking institution in their rush to cash in on water and infrastructure. JPMorgan’s own analysts estimate that the emerging markets’ infrastructure is approximately U.S.$21.7 trillion over the next decade.

JPMorgan created a U.S.$2 billion infrastructure fund to go after India’s infrastructure projects in October 2007. The targeted projects are transportation (roads, bridges, railroads) and utilities (gas, electricity, water). India’s finance minister has been estimated that India requires about U.S.$500 billion in infrastructure investments by 2012. In this regard, JPMorgan is joined by Citigroup, the Blackstone Group, 3i Group (Europe’s second-largest private-equity firm), and ICICI Bank (India’s second-largest bank) (International Herald Tribune, October 31, 2007). Its JPMorgan Asset Management has also established an Asian Infrastructure & Related Resources Opportunity Fund which held a first close on U.S.$500 million (€333 million) and will focus on China, India, and other Southern Asian countries, with the first two investments in China and India (Private Equity Online, August 11, 2008). The fund’s target is U.S.$1.5 billion.

JPMorgan’s Global Equity Research division also published a 60-page report called “Watch water: A guide to evaluating corporate risks in a thirsty world” (April 1, 2008).

In 2010, J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Water Asset Management led a $275 million buyout bid for SouthWest Water.

Allianz Group: Water Is Underpriced and Undervalued

Founded in 1890, Germany’s Allianz Group is one of the leading global services providers in insurance, banking, and asset management in about 70 countries. In April 2008, Allianz SE launched the Allianz RCM Global Water Fund which invests in equity securities of water-related companies worldwide, emphasizing long-term capital appreciation. Alliance launched its Global EcoTrends Fund in February 2007 (Business Wire, February 7, 2007).

Allianz SE’s Dresdner Bank AG told its investors that “Investments in water offer opportunities: Rising oil prices obscure our view of an even more serious scarcity: water. The global water economy is faced with a multi-billion dollar need for capital expenditure and modernization. Dresdner Bank sees this as offering attractive opportunities for returns for investors with a long-term investment horizon.” (Frankfurt, August 14, 2008)

Like Goldman Sachs, Allianz has the philosophy that water is underpriced. A co-manager of the Water Fund in Frankfurt, said, “A key issue of water is that the true value of water is not recognized. …Water tends to be undervalued around the world. …Perhaps that is one of the reasons why there are so many places with a lack of supply due to a lack of investment. With that in mind, it makes sense to invest in companies that are engaged in improving water quality and infrastructure.” Allianz sees two key investment drivers in water: (1) upgrading the aging infrastructure in the developed world; and (2) new urbanization and industrialization in developing countries such as China and India.

Barclays PLC: Water Index Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds

Barclays PLC is a U.K.-based major global financial services provider operating in all over the world with roots in London since 1690; it operates through its subsidiary Barclays Bank PLC and its investment bank called Barclays Capital.

Barclays Bank’s unit Barclays Global Investors manages an exchange-traded fund (ETF) called iShares S&P Global Water, which is listed on the London Stock Exchanges and can be purchased like any ordinary share through a broker. Touting the iShares S&P Global Water as offering “a broad based exposure to shares of the world’s largest water companies, including water utilities and water equipment stocks” of water companies around the world, this fund as of March 31, 2007 was valued at U.S.$33.8 million.

Barclays also have a climate index fund: launched on January 16, 2008, SAM Indexes GmbH licensed its Dow Jones Sustainability Index to Barclays Capital for investors in Germany and Switzerland. Many other banks also have a climate index or sustainability index.

In October 2007, Barclays Capital also partnered with Protected Distribution Limited (PDL) to launch a new water investment fund (with expected annual returns of 9% to 11%) called Protected Water Fund. This new fund, listed in the Isle of Man, requires a minimum of £10,000 and is structured as a 10-year investment with Barclays Bank providing 100% of capital protection until maturity on October 11, 2017. The Protected Water Fund will be invested in some of the world’s largest water companies; its investment decisions will be made based on an index created by Barclays Capital, the Barclays World Water Strategy, which charts the performance of some of the world’s largest water-related stocks (Investment Week and Reuters, October 11, 2007; Business Week, October 15, 2007).

Deutsche Bank’s €2 Billion Investment in European Infrastructure: “Megatrend” in Water, Climate, Infrastructure, and Agribusiness Investments

Deutsche Bank is one of the major players in the water sector worldwide. Its Deutsche Bank Advisors have identified water as a part of the climate investment strategies. In its presentation, “Global Warming: Implications for Investors,” they have identified the four following major areas for water investment:

§ Distribution and management: (1) Supply and recycling, (2) water distribution and sewage, (3) water management and engineering.
§ Water purification: (1) Sewage purification, (2) disinfection, (3) desalination, (4) monitoring.
§ Water efficiency (demand): (1) Home installation, (2) gray-water recycling, (3) water meters.
§ Water and nutrition: (1) Irrigation, (2) bottled water.

In addition to water, the other two new resources identified were agribusiness (e.g., pesticides, genetically modified seeds, mineral fertilizers, agricultural machinery) and renewable energies (e.g., solar, wind, hydrothermal, biomass, hydroelectricity).

The Deutsche Bank has established an investment fund of up to €2 billion in European infrastructure assets using its Structured Capital Markets Group (SCM), part of the bank’s Global Markets division. The bank already has several “highly attractive infrastructure assets,” including East Surrey Holdings, the owner of U.K.’s water utility Sutton & East Surrey Water (Deutsche Bank press release, September 22, 2006).

Moreover, Deutsche Bank has channeled €6 billion (U.S.$8.55 billion) into climate change funds, which will target companies with products that cut greenhouse gases or help people adapt to a warmer world, in sectors from agriculture to power and construction (Reuters, October 18, 2007).

In addition to SCM, Deutsche Bank also has the RREEF Infrastructure, part of RREEF Alternative Investments, headquartered in New York with main hubs in Sydney, Singapore, and London. RREEF Infrastructure has more than €6.7 billion in assets under management. One of its main targets is utilities, including electricity networks, water-treatment or distribution operations, and natural-gas networks. In October 2007, RREEF partnered with Goldman Sachs, GE, Prudential, and Babcok & Brown Ltd. to bid unsuccessfully for U.K.’s water utility Southern Water.

§ Crediting the boom in European infrastructure investment, the RREEF fund by August 2007 had raised €2 billion (U.S.$2.8 billion); Europe’s infrastructure market is valued at between U.S.$4 trillion to U.S.$6 trillion (DowJones Financial News Online, August 7, 2007).

§ Bulgaria — Deutsche Bank Bulgaria is planning to participate in large infrastructure projects, including public-private partnership projects in water and sewage worth up to €1 billion (Sofia Echo Media, February 26, 2008).

§ Middle East — Along with Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. (an private-equity investment bank in Bahrain), Deutsche Bank co-managed a U.S.$2 billion Shari’a-compliant Infrastructure and Growth Capital Fund and plans to target U.S.$630 billion in regional infrastructure.

Deutsche Bank AG is co-owner of Aqueduct Capital (UK) Limited which in 2006 offered to buy U.K.’s sixth-largest water utility Sutton and East Surrey Water plc from British tycoon Guy Hand. According to an OFWAT consultation paper (May 2007), Deutsche Bank formed this new entity, Aqueduct Capital (short for ACUK), in October 2005, with two public pension funds in Canada, Singapore’s life insurance giant, and a Canadian province’s investment fund, among others. This case, again, is an illustration of the complex nature of ownership of water utilities today, with various types of institutions crossing national boundaries to partner with each other to hold a stake in the water sector. With its impressive war chest dedicated to water, food, and infrastructure, Deutsche Bank is expected to become a major player in the global water sector.

Other Mega-Banks Eyeing Water as Hot Investment

Merrill Lynch (before being bought by Bank of America) issued a 24-page research report titled “Water scarcity; a bigger problem than assumed” (December 6, 2007). ML said that water scarcity is “not limited to arid climates.”

Morgan Stanley in its publication, “Emerging Markets Infrastructure: Just Getting Started” (April 2008) recommends three areas of investment opportunities in water: water utilities, global operators (such as Veolia Environment), and technology companies (such as those that manufacture membranes and chemicals used in water treatment to the water industry).

Mutual Funds and Hedge Funds Join the Action in Water

Water investment funds are on the rise, such as these four well-known water-focused mutual funds:

1. Calvert Global Water Fund (CFWAX) — $42 million in assets as of 2010, which holds 30% of its assets in water utilities, 40% in infrastructure companies, and 30% in water technologies. Also between 65% to 70% of the water stocks derived more than 50% of their revenue from water-related activities.
2. Allianz RCM Global Water Fund (AWTAX) — $54 million assets as of 2010, most of it invested in water utilities.
3. PFW Water Fund (PFWAX) — $17 million in assets as of 2010, with a minimum investment of $2,500, with 80% invested in water-related companies….
4. Kinetics Water Infrastructure Advantaged Fund (KWIAX) — $26 million in assets as of 2010, with a minimum investment of $2,500.

This is a brief list of water-centered hedge funds:

§ Master Water Equity Fund — Summit Global AM (United States)
§ Water Partners Fund — Aqua Terra AM (United States)
§ The Water Fund — Terrapin AM (United States)
§ The Reservoir Fund — Water AM (United States)
§ The Oasis Fund — Perella Weinberg AM (United States)
§ Signina Water Fund — Signina Capital AG (Switzerland)
§ MFS Water Fund of Funds — MFS Aqua AM (Australia)
§ Triton Water Fund of Funds — FourWinds CM (United States)
§ Water Edge Fund of Funds — Parker Global Strategies LLC (United States)

Other banks have launched water-targeted investment funds. Several well-known specialized water funds include Pictet Water Fund, SAM Sustainable Water Fund, Sarasin Sustainable Water Fund, Swisscanto Equity Fund Water, and Tareno Waterfund. Several structured water products offered by major investment banks include ABN Amro Water Stocks Index Certificate, BKB Water Basket, ZKB Sustainable Basket Water, Wagelin Water Shares Certificate, UBS Water Strategy Certificate, and Certificate on Vontobel Water Index. There are also several water indexes and index funds, as follows:

Credit Suisse Water Index
HSBC Water, Waste, and Pollution Control Index
Merrill Lynch China Water Index
S&P Global Water Index
First Trust ISE Water Index Fund (FIW)
International Securities Exchange’s ISE-B&S Water Index

The following is a small sample of other water funds and certificates (not exhaustive of the current range of diverse water products available):

Allianz RCM Global EcoTrends Fund
Allianz RCM Global Water Fund
UBS Water Strategy Certificate—it has a managed basket of 25 international stocks
Summit Water Equity Fund
Maxxwater Global Water Fund
Claymore S&P Global Water ETF (CGW)
Barclays Global Investors’ iShares S&P Global Water
Barclays and PDL’s Protected Water Fund based on Barclays World Water Strategy
Invesco’s PowerShares Water Resources Portfolio ETF (PHO)
Invesco’s PowerShares Global Water (PIO)
Pictet Asset Management’s Pictet Water Fund and Pictet Water Opportunities Fund
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Water Growth Deposit Notes
Criterion Investments Limited’s Criterion Water Infrastructure Fund

One often-heard reason for the investment banks’ rush to control of water is that “Utilities are viewed as relatively safe assets in an economic downturn so [they] are more isolated than most from the global credit crunch, initially sparked by concerns over U.S. subprime mortgages” (Reuters, October 9, 2007). A London-based analyst at HSBC Securities told Bloomberg News that water is a good investment because “You’re buying something that’s inflation proof and there’s no threat to earnings really. It’s very stable and you can sell it any time you want” (Bloomberg, October 8, 2007).

More Pension Funds Investing in Water

Many pension funds have entered the water sector as a relatively safe sector for investment. For example, BT Pension Scheme (of British Telecom plc) has bought stakes in Thames Water in 2012, while Canadian pension funds CDPQ (Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which manages public pension funds in Québec) and CPPIB (Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) have acquired England’s South East Water and Anglian Water, respectively, as reported by Reuters this year.

Sovereign Wealth Investment Funds Jumping into Water

In January 2012, China Investment Corporation has bought 8.68% stakes in Thames Water, the largest water utility in England, which serves parts of the Greater London area, Thames Valley, and Surrey, among other areas.

In November 2012, One of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), also purchased 9.9% stake in Thames Water.

Billionaires Sucking up Water Globally: George H.W. Bush and Family, Li Ka-shing, the Filipino Billionaires, and Others

Not only are the mega-banks investing heavily in water, the multibillionaire tycoons are also buying water.

Update on Hong Kong Multibillionaire Li Ka-shing’s Water Acquisition

In summer 2011, the Hong Kong multibillionaire tycoon Li Ka-shing who owns Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI), bought Northumbrian Water, which serves 2.6 million people in northeastern England, for $3.9 billion (see this and this).

CKI also sold Cambridge Water for £74 million to HSBC in 2011. Not satisfied with controlling the water sector, in 2010, CKI with a consortium bought EDF’s power networks in UK for £5.8 billion.

Li is now also collaborating with Samsung on investing in water treatment.

Warren Buffet Buys Nalco, a Chemical Maker and Water Process Technology Company

Through his Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet is the largest institutional investor of Nalco Holding Co. (NLC), a subsidiary of Ecolab, with 9 million shares. Nalco was named 2012 Water Technology Company of the Year. Nalco manufactures treatment chemicals and water treatment process technologies.

But the company Nalco is not just a membrane manufacturer; it also produced the infamous toxic chemical dispersant Corexit which was used to disperse crude oil in the aftermath of BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Before being sold to Ecolab, Nalco’s parent company was Blackstone……

Former President George H.W. Bush’s Family Bought 300,000 Acres on South America’s and World’s Largest Aquifer, Acuifero Guaraní

In my 2008 article, I overlooked the astonishingly large land purchases (298,840 acres, to be exact) by the Bush family in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, while on a trip to Paraguay for the United Nation’s children’s group UNICEF, Jenna Bush (daughter of former President George W. Bush and granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush) reportedly bought 98,840 acres of land in Chaco, Paraguay, near the Triple Frontier (Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay). This land is said to be near the 200,000 acres purchased by her grandfather, George H.W. Bush, in 2005.

The lands purchased by the Bush family sit over not only South America’s largest aquifer — but the world’s as well — Acuifero Guaraní, which runs beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This aquifer is larger than Texas and California combined.

Online political magazine Counterpunch quoted Argentinean pacifist Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the winner of 1981 Nobel Peace Prize, who “warned that the real war will be fought not for oil, but for water, and recalled that Acuifero Guaraní is one of the largest underground water reserves in South America….”

According to Wikipedia, this aquifer covers 1,200,000 km², with a volume of about 40,000 km³, a thickness of between 50 m and 800 m and a maximum depth of about 1,800 m. It is estimated to contain about 37,000 km³ of water (arguably the largest single body of groundwater in the world, although the overall volume of the constituent parts of the Great Artesian Basin is much larger), with a total recharge rate of about 166 km³/year from precipitation. It is said that this vast underground reservoir could supply fresh drinking water to the world for 200 years.

Filipino Tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan and Others Buy Water Services in Vietnam

In October 2012, Filipino businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan went to Vietnam to scout for investment opportunities, particularly on toll road and water services. Mr. Pangilinan and other Filipino billionaires, such as the owners of the Ayala Corp. and subsidiary Manila Water Co. earlier announced a deal to buy a 10-per cent stake in Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Co. (CII) and a 49-per cent stake in Kenh Dong Water Supply Joint Stock Co. (Kenh Dong).

The Ayala group has also entered the Vietnamese market by buying significant minority interest in a leading infrastructure company and a bulk water supply company both based in Ho Chi Minh City.

Water Grabbing Is Unstoppable

Unfortunately, the global water and infrastructure-privatization fever is unstoppable: many local and state governments are suffering from revenue shortfalls and are under financial and budgetary strains. These local and state governments can longer shoulder the responsibilities of maintaining and upgrading their own utilities. Facing offers of millions of cash from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, and other elite banks for their utilities and other infrastructure and municipal services, cities and states will find it extremely difficult to refuse these privatization offers.

The elite multinational and Wall Street banks and investment banks have been preparing and waiting for this golden moment for years. Over the past few years, they have amassed war chests of infrastructure funds to privatize water, municipal services, and utilities all over the world. It will be extremely difficult to reverse this privatization trend in water.

References for Several Articles Mentioned

“Goldman Sachs eyes bid for Veolia Water,” by Anousha Sakoui and Daniel Schäfer, Financial Times, March 13, 2012.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/183cfae4-6d21-11e1-a7c7-00144feab49a.html#axzz2CM8OLnFQ

“Hong Kong tycoon to buy Northumbrian Water,” by Mark Wembridge, Financial Times, August 2, 2011.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3df07960-bcdb-11e0-bdb1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2CM8OLnFQ

“Why Big Banks May Be Buying up Your Public Water System: In uncertain economic and environmental times, big banks and financial groups are buying up public water systems as safe investments,” by Jo-Shing Yang, AlterNet, October 31, 2008.

http://www.alternet.org/zstory/105083/why_big_banks_may_be_trying_to_buy_up_your_public_water_system

“Barclays Capital Backs Water Fund,” by Dylan Lobo, October 11, 2007. Reuters.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2007/10/11/citywire-barclays-water-idUKNOA13736320071011

“Investors Gush Over SouthWest Water Buyout,” March 3, 2010, Forbes.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/03/southwest-water-novell-markets-equities-deals-marketnewsvideo.html

“Hideout or Water Raid? Bush’s Paraguay Land Grab,” by CP News Wire, Counterpunch, October 22-26, 2006.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/10/20/bush-s-paraguay-land-grab/

“Paraguay in a spin about Bush’s alleged 100,000 acre hideaway,” by Tom Phillips, The Guardian, October 22, 2006.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/oct/23/mainsection.tomphillips

“Cities Debate Privatizing Public Infrastructure,” by Jenny Anderson, August 26, 2008, The New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/27/business/27fund.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

“Philippine tycoon eyes investments in Vietnam,” by Doris C. Dunlao in Manila, Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 18, 2012.

http://my.news.yahoo.com/philippine-tycoon-eyes-investments-vietnam-060002777.html

  • Codycote

    This is actually very frightening. I assume that in the not-too-distant future, only the wealthy (the 1%) will have access to water. The rest of us will have to pay higher and higher prices for it, and eventually just start to die off from thirst. What’s next? Air?

    • Dawn Wolfson

      Probably…

    • Rudi Meister

      we will all be dead by the time they get to charge us for air, to me it looks like we are decades behind the ball, only solution now is to assassinate the assholes ASAP because peaceful protests are laughed at and things do change but not for our benefit.
      it reminds me of a garfield comic: What’s the difference between doing a good deed and pissing yourself in black pants?
      A: it gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices.

    • gwayne

      Air;It depends where one lives…

  • Douglas Hawes

    Timothy, they don’t have to systematically decrease the available amount of water. We are already doing a good job of that. They will win, our Congress will assure them of control. Yes, Codycote it is frightening even without billionaires controlling the water supply.

  • REDPILLED

    Will this provoke the populace to finally get out the torches and pitchforks?

    • corvus1970

      Nope. At least not until its already too late.

  • vallehombre

    ANYBODY who didn’t see this coming has been either willfully ignorant or too scared to look… unless of course, they were too stupid to be out in public unescorted.

    The issue is not whether our self identified elites will continue to “privatize” every single atom in existence but just how many folks will die in the process.

    The only sure bet in this whole affair is that the already cowed citizenry will, as usual, do NOTHING but whine.

  • Dan Tohatan

    WHO will they buy it from? It’s obvious that governments will have failed us, again.

  • Tom Ravine

    They killed off the buffalo for the same reason, it was a free and
    plentifull supply of what thethey where selling(cattle). Business is
    about market share, securing the largest percentage of it that you can,
    unfortunatly mothernature holds the largest peice of that pie, and she’s
    giving it away for free. They hate communism, and socialism, but they
    despise Nature.

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  • bobthecats

    That is the way to control the population; it is not a new technique. Soon we will have food only by Monsanto and water by Wall Street. For those that are not aware, Monsanto not only produces GMOs, they bought most seed companies. And I am so silly, all those years I thought that mother nature supplied us all for free.

    It does not surprised me that they are buying up all the water rights. What does surprise me, a little, is that 7 billion people let themselves be controlled by 400 people.

    • Bella_Fantasia

      It seems entirely possible most of those billions of people had absolutely no idea this was happening. Most people are born and live their lives as best they can given their circumstances. Those of us who do understand what has happened deserve the blame. I’ve been vocal about this for over thirty years but never had the ability (power) to influence the situation, unfortunately.

      It’s very clear now is time to push back, bobthecats, rather than lay blame.

      • David I. Baker

        Hi, for once I find myself in agreement with you. ;)
        Do you blame victims, ? No. Ofcourse not.
        Lots of people speak of the American people being to blame for Bush, and now sadly, Obama.

        • Bella_Fantasia

          ; )

      • bobthecats

        My statement was not meant to lay blame, but rather to state that I don’t understand human nature. I see the indigenous people resisting; trying to save mother nature. And some are getting murdered for speaking truth. And it is just not the indigenous people, people of all nationalities and cultures are speaking truth and taking peaceful action – just not enough of us.

        My question is – Why doesn’t everyone act to protect our beautiful planet and all life on it? When you think about it, we should all be on the same side.

        We see all kinds of destruction fracking, strip mining, GMOs, pesticides, deforestation, and on and on. It seems to me these are drops of water spilling from a bucket with a leak. We must fix the bucket. If we spend all our time trying to catch the drops, the bucket will never get fixed. And no, I don’t think you should stop trying to catch the drops.

      • gwayne

        There is a lot of sports and soap operas to help distract the public at large and this subject is so darned depressing.Oops , there another game on the boob tube to watch with my beer swilling buds and the old lady wants to watch some more recorded soaps since she had to go shawping for the latest craze.As long as there is water in the pool and millions in the bank, everything will be fine for us.Dividends for the rich to manipulate and CEO pay increases for us all. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead till the we see the flames and the pitchforks.Then we will use the police state to protect us from harm while we rape the thirsty infidels of anything they have left.

    • paul wichmann

      I object, in that the majority of them 7 billion let themselves be controlled like the indigenous people of South Africa allowed apartheid, or like a mountain lets itself be strip-mined.
      The exception is US, who were possessed of the means to slow or stall this commandeering / capitalization of everything under the sun, but for whom all this was cool, until US found ourselves no longer benefiting from the world’s misery, but sharing it.

      • David I. Baker

        Very clever, I chuckle to myself.
        Like a mountain allowing itself to be strip-mined.
        Also, very true about not complaining much when we were collectively benefiting

  • Bella_Fantasia

    Of all the water on Earth only three percent is fresh water. Of the three percent one third to one half is already polluted, mostly from industry. Now those who already profited greatly and the mega banks, are taking their ill gotten gain ($1.2 quadrillion in derivatives) and fake money to buy the real water that 7 billion people and countless animals need, even living the most modest life.

    You better believe the One Percent have every intention of making water a commodity rather than a common good. If people are not paying attention, they won’t push back as it happens. Water is already being privatized all over the world, and it will come here unless we reject it. In the Bolivian Water War the poorest people were not allowed to collect rain water in barrels. It’s a cautionary tale. Even though the Bolivians won, more or less, their nearly perfect water distribution system (prewar) is no more. Coca Cola is buying and fencing reservoirs, leaving whole populations with nothing but bottled water and Coke, which costs less than the water.

    We need to listen and learn from Maude Barlow (Blue Gold), Vandana Shiva (Water Wars) and Fred Pierce (When the Rivers Run Dry) in order for the enormity of this issue to come into focus. It is the defining issue of the 21st Century.

  • cotatijsk

    If the corporatocracy has their way, there wont be ANY publically owned water. In the Bolivian Water War the poorest people were not allowed to collect rain water in barrels.

  • paul wichmann

    You can see where all this is headed, and what’s going to stop it from getting there… (Nothing). I have no problem with desalination (and certain other helpful technologies), though who knows the consequence of making oceans even saltier. But these filth money changers will be cornering the water market soon enough. The state of Oregon “regulating” the water that falls on a citizen’s land? Funk.
    People are so violently against taxes, and politicians (other than those who themselves provoke the violence) are so afraid of this violence, that they’d sooner privatize. But this is necessarily going to lead to Enron-like manipulation and gouging. And it doesn’t help a lick that government is viewed and increasingly proving itself (VA) incompetent.

  • Not takin it anymore

    ah, yes . .the “Free Market” in action. This is pure cannibalism at its finest. These bastards will keep a noose around everyone’s neck and won’t let it go.

    Time to stock up on Spam , pallets of Costco bottled water and ammo and once these 1%ers try to wall off the commons we take them and their hired goons down. All of them.

    Have a nice day :)

  • umabird

    If we made these wealthy individuals and corporations pay their taxes, local and state governments would NOT be under financial strain. This is a manufactured crisis and one that can be managed in the common interest by good governance!

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  • Chris Jonsson

    This was happening years ago. Boone Pickens was a pioneer, buying up water rights. Life on earth will never be the same. Abortion and suicide will not be an option in the future it will be the answer. Sorry, the taxpayers can no longer afford to pay for the basic necessities of life for the low or no income general public. Long live Pro-Lifers! God bless the poor.

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  • Richard Haseley

    Although I don’t doubt for a second millionaires are stocking up on water, if you even slightly investigate the Oregon case mentioned in this article, you’ll find that no one is stopping or even hinting at stopping citizens from collecting water. The man in question was collecting over 13 million Gallons of water, in three gigantic ponds which he did not have a permit for. (Which the state requires) He was issued some minor tickets and put in jail for thirty days only after being told to break the dam holding the water in. He complied and then blocked it again. Why is collecting so much water considered a crime in Oregon? They make it clear it’s a natural resource NO ONE can own. But as for the millionaires buying up water, Well if it bothers you you can stop buying bottled water and drink from the tap just like our parents and grandparents did. If we don’t buy it they wont want it. This is just a case of a paranoid author, yelling to the masses!

    • gwayne

      I have not ever bought bottled water and can remember when every service station had a water fountain accessible to the public. If I am thirsty, I drink from the faucet in the mens room, or fill a container . Buying water is against my law, except if one is on a municipal water system where there is no exception. I cannot live in those places that have been duped into mortgages and wasted lifestyles.I need a small garden,well or pond water for that and a cistern for drinking and a hen house to avoid the arsenic fed to the hens in captivity.

  • Jeanne Rhea

    “Specifically, a lucrative opportunity in water is in hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), as it generates massive demand for water and water services. Each oil well developed requires 3 to 5 million gallons of water, and 80% of this water cannot be reused because it’s three to 10 times saltier than seawater. Citigroup recommends water-rights owners sell water to fracking companies instead of to farmers because water for fracking can be sold for as much as $3,000 per acre-foot instead of only $50 per acre/foot to farmers.”

    I wonder where the Citigroup CEOs and all those from the fracking companies are going to get their food when we have ruined all our water and soil with chemicals. I know their hands have probably never touched dirt to raise their own food. Going to be the wild west soon.

    Note to add to this article… Former Alaskan Governor Wally Hickel often dreamed of building a water pipeline to the lower 48 from Alaska. He was ahead of his time. Every time I read articles about our shortage of water, I think of his dream. http://www.newsminer.com/news/dermot_code/spirited-wally-hickel-never-failed-to-dream-big-about-owner/article_c17d83f2-15dc-5167-8770-d21173121736.html?mode=jqm

    “In the latter stages of his life he talked often about how big projects are the best alternative to war. The undersea water pipeline to the parched regions of the Lower 48 was one such idea. He also supported the idea of an inter-continental tunnel to connect Alaska and Russia as part of a round-the-world railroad.”

    • http://www.edomsthorn.wordpress.com EDOMS THORN

      DID you get this?

      http://whitewraithe.wordpress.com/fracking-what-is-it-and-why-its-harmful-to-the-planet/

      …”The technique is very common in wells for shale gas, tight gas, tight oil, and coal seam gas[1][2] and hard rock wells. This well stimulation is usually conducted once in the life of the well and greatly enhances fluid removal and well productivity, but there has been an increasing trend towards multiple hydraulic fracturing as production declines”… Hydraulic fracturing – Wikipedia,
      http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wi
      Wikipedia

      While there has been a lot of reporting about a procedure officially known as “slick water hydraulic fracturing”, aka “FRACKING”, I had not commented much on it because it seemed to me to be an issue that was disturbing to the “Environmentalist’s”, and I agreed with their concerns. Then we started hearing about the possibility of fracturing causing earthquake’s. And I could only comment that this development would be in line with the HARRP “program”, and so I say, “what else is new”.
      And now, near my home in Louisiana, near the town of LaCombe, there is a proposal for a fracking operation, and listening to the local news reports I learned something that was so shocking, and unbelievable, I am sorry I did not investigate this further when this became an issue about three years ago. Locally it was reported that Helis Oil & Gas, out of New Orleans, submitted a public hearing request late last month for its project to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, which controls permits for this kind of work. And in that report, it was said to be a “NEW WELL”. That combined “Directional Drilling” with hydraulic fracturing. This was the first time I have ever heard of this drilling technique being used for a new well. What also was disturbing was that report said that Helis Oil & Gas was not certain of finding any oil or natural gas. In fact, WDSU News reported the other day that drilling WAS going to happen, just to see “if fracking was viable commercially” That is to say, “Got Oil?” ANYONE should know that is not how “Oil Exploration” is done!

      I first heard about “FRACKING” in the 1970′s while working in the Oil Fields of the Gulf of Mexico. As you may remember, that was when we first started being told about ‘fuel shortages’. But I have first hand knowledge that was caused through the manipulations of Big Oil. I was working on one of the larger “Production Platforms” (at that time) in the Gulf called ” West Delta (block) Conoco 45 C.Q.”
      During one of the contrived oil shortage’s, the platform was “Shut-In” (not producing, not sending oil to shore.) I asked the production superintendent, HENRY SHORT, why we were shut-in, and with a straight face he told me that “We are producing to much”. I had just got of the phone with my mother in Ohio, and she was talking about the lines at the gas pumps.
      I learned a lot about the oil field after working there for ten years. When I left, I was a certified N.D.T. Technician (Non Destructive Testing), performing X-Ray and Ultra-Sound etc. examinations of various steel components in the oil field as well as Electric Power Plants, both Conventional and Nuclear. Testing welding and thickness’s for erosion, in both areas of operation.

      Back to the topic at hand. I was able to spend a good bit of time talking to the old ‘Drillers’ and ‘Pushers’ and learned a lot about the oil field operations. When I learned about Fracking, Directional Drilling etc. it was explained by men that knew what they were talking about from many years of on hands experience. I was told that Fracking was developed for extracting oil and gas from “old well’s” that had stopped producing or were “under producing, and that Fracking was an affordable procedure because of the amount of product that was still available was offset by the cost of a NEW WELL. It was never said to be used as the method for establishing a new well.
      With your standard oil well, there is no need for Fracking or Directional Drilling. Those techniques were developed for very specific applications. For example, drilling into an oil reservoir from different angles, allows for multiple “DRAW POINTS” from the same reservoir, and the same drilling rig, with out requiring the rig to be moved. . With Fracturing an existing Well, there is an Oil Reserve and a DRAW POINT. With a New Fracturing Well, there is NEITHER.
      And then there is the need to transport the Product to the Refineries. That is done by connecting to a pipeline. Trucking “crude Oil” is not cost effective.

      Another aspect of well drilling is the initial “bore hole”. Every hole that is drilled must be “CASED” and cemented to provide and maintain structural integrity to the bore. It prevents a collapse of the bore hole, and is a process that is repeated through out every hole, in predetermined segments or distance’s.
      Also required for every drilling operation, is drilling “mud” or fluids. The MUD is a water based mud, until the well has reached the oil, and then the mud is changed to an oil based fluid. NOTE that this process is ALSO required for the drilling of these NEW (NEW) Fracture Wells,( “IF” they were to reach any oil.)
      Prior to “Completion” of the oil well, a “Blow Out Preventer” is installed… “WHY CLASS”? … BECAUSE ALL OIL WELLS ARE UNDER EXTREME PRESSURE! Just watch “The Beverly Hillbilly’s” and you will see that “BUBBLING CRUDE”! AND just think back to April 2010. Wasn’t the “Blow out preventer” blamed for the Gulf “OIL SPILL”? That is except of course, for the NEW FACTURING WELLS. Those NEW wells will apparently NOT, for some as yet explained reason, have the need for a Blow out preventer, because, again, FOR some as yet, explained reason, those Fracturing Wells will be APPLYING EXTREME PRESSURE! They well also require additional HAZARDOUS FLUIDS, not for the Drilling process, but for the extraction of “OIL”(?)
      Can anyone tell me how in the world these Fracture Wells are justified, after we consider the additional cost’s and hazards? Does any one believe that there is not enough oil, accessible through the tried and true, PROVEN SAFE methods?
      WHY, IN HELL AND CREATION, has no one exposed these issues yet?
      I talked to a “DRILLING Consultant” today, that I have known for 34 years, and he told me that I was correct! He also told me that the only offshore Fracking operations that he knew of in the Gulf of Mexico, was off the coast of Mexico. He did not understand why. But we should know why. It is more expensive to truck those added materials and then transport them by boat to the location. That would be just one reason.
      About six months after the B.P “blow out’ on April 20th 2010, there was a few advertisement campaigns that promoted the safety, and technological abilities of Oil Company’s, and one said that there had been a new discovery called “Directional Drilling”. Again, I knew about that from working in the oil fields. It was developed in 1920. Fracking was developed in 1946, and perfected by 1949.

      In short, it seems that FRACKING” has been packaged as a combination of NEW technologies that are good for us. That are safe. And necessary for our energy needs. From my understanding, in light of these facts, it is none of those things. Also it appears that there is no justification for Fracking from an Economic or an Environmental view point. It looks like a scam. It needs to be halted until they can answer these points.

      And consider this. In the mid 90′s, I think on William Cooper, on Short Wave Radio, there was a good bit of talk about a ‘future plan’ to poison the water aquifers that was “leaked”. At that time I did not make the connection to Fracturing, but I was sure that that would be an understandable method to further control the population.

      ALL of this seems to leave us with a very big “WHY”? Facts are “FACTS” and this is no “THEORY”. We need this information to get out in the eye of the public.

      EDOMS THORN does not do “NEWS” articles, mainly because they are only reporting the “SYMPTOMS” of the Disease that has infected the western world! The fact that I do not “NAME” them here, is not to be mistaken for “FEAR OF” that evil.
      http://edomsthorn.wordpress.co

  • bobthecats

    I know about geoengineering. Not only do I think it is an ill-conceived destructive idea, it is one big reason a lot of people have doubts about global warming. They believe the mega storms are caused by our government manipulating the weather and I can’t argue with that – who knows?? One thing I know is that it needs to stop.

    Since I believe our problems are more that just capitalism, I started to read searching for answers. Both Gandhi (Indian Self Rule – difficult read) and James Goldsmith (The Trap – easy read) came to the same conclusion. They identified technology as a big problem and I agree with them. We think we can continue are destructive ways and technology will save us, but technology just make things worse, i.e. geoengineering.

    • gwayne

      There is a time and place for simplicity, but renewable energy and natural energy needs developing with a tax on fossil fuels at the wellhead and no more dirty fossil fuel development such as tar sands/tar oils or fracking as the potential is too great at destroying groundwater since there is absolutely no positive manner to seal any well pipe against leaking between different strata, especially when the huge shocks from fracking are applied causing earthquakes in many areas. If this is not evidence enough for ending fracking along with sealed settlements in the courts, I do not know what is.

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  • jenab6

    Gary Huntington owns 170 acres and was holding 13 million gallons of water. Do the math.

    170 acres = 1.066 billion square inches

    13 million gallons = 3.003 billion cubic inches

    So the water that Huntington was holding, if spread out over his land, would cover it to a depth of 2.817 inches. That’s about what two good rain storms would have dropped on his property.

    Once Huntington’s reservoirs were filled, any further water that fell on, or entered into, his property was passed along in quite the same way as it would if Huntington were holding no water at all.

    In other words, you can forget any idea that Huntington’s retention of 13 gallons of water was any sort of continuous drain on the supply of water to the region around Eagle Point, Oregon, because it was no such thing.

    Even if your evident belief, that landowners pose a continuous drain on the local watershed by holding a finite supply of water, were correct, ask yourself which is worse:

    To trade with (local) private landowners for water, or to trade with far away investment bankers who set prices on your water at their board meetings as they sip Perrier on ice with a twist of lime? Which sort of vendor is likely to have the most respect for you, to value you as a neighbor as well as a customer, and which is more likely to consider you as nothing more than a smelly but useful beast?

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