Bloomberg Businessweek Chairman Norman Pearlstine and his panel: Ahmet Bozer, President, Coca-Cola International (KO); Jae So, Manager, World Bank Water and Sanitation Program; Carlos Riva, CEO, Poseidon Water; Thomas Powers, Commissioner of Water Management, Chicago; and Jeff Sterba, President and CEO, American Water.
"Well, desalination is used all over the world, generally for very specific applications. Naval ships use it. But the scale that we’re talking about—our plant in California will supply about 8 percent of San Diego County’s water."
"In Chicago a quarter of our distribution system is over 100 years old. That manifests itself to everyday people in the form of breaks and leakage. From 1890 to 1920 we were installing water mains at a rate of about 75 miles a year. And over the last 10 years we were only replacing them at about 30 miles a year. With our new program, over the next decade, we’re going to replace nearly 1,000 miles of water main. And just in doing that, we conservatively estimate that we’ll be able to provide enough water for an additional 400,000 residents."
"One of the reasons that in developing countries water utilities cannot make ends meet is that people don’t pay their water bills. And these are sometimes the most powerful people in the country. (Laughs.) Ek Sonn Chan, who runs the Phnom Penh Water utility in Cambodia, looked at the situation and realized that there was no way he could make the utility viable until customers started paying. And he started cutting people off. He cut off the military. He cut off the powerful ministers."
"In many countries where the World Bank works, agricultural water is essentially free, or very, very low-cost. At some point, if we’re providing water to the same rural communities but the farmers get it for free, you will find situations where the farmers will then sell the water they get to the municipalities and the villages for human consumption."
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