Tag Archives: water development

Two-thirds of 600 cities in China have trouble accessing water

27 May

Tapping into the future
News from China Daily highlights the pressing need for water infrastructure reform right across China, including the capital Beijing.

The article states that foreign companies are investing billions of yuan in a wide range of projects including “waste water treatment, municipal water supply, industrial water supply and direct investment in Chinese water companies.”

Water problems are not restricted to the towns and villages only, as City Investment Banker Wang Lui found out:

“When Wang Liu first came to Beijing for college nine years ago, she thought she could drink the tap water. After all, it is the Chinese capital. Wang is a native of Fushun, a city of Liaoning province in Northeast China where people have to boil the tap water before drinking it. But like tens of millions of residents in Beijing, Wang soon discovered the tap water was not safe to drink and a possible health threat.

‘The water from my tap has a very noticeable odor, and it seems to have lots of chemicals in it,” says the 28-year-old, who works at an investment bank. “I called the water company several times to file a complaint, but the problem never got solved.”

Ten water facts

15 May

An interesting list from MoneyWeek:

1. On average, a British person lets eight litres of water flow down the sink while they clean their teeth.

2. Europeans use up to 25 times the amount of water on a daily basis as their developing-world counterparts.

3. Two-thirds of the world’s fresh water is used to irrigate crops.

4. Americans drench their gardens with seven billion gallons of water a day.

5. Due to population density, the south east of England has less available water per head than Sudan.

6. Eighty per cent of China’s rivers are too polluted to support fish.

7. 1.1 billion people globally have no access to clean water.

8. North America has 8% of the world’s population, but access to 15% of the world’s water supply. For China the figures are 21% and 7%.

9. Flushing the toilet in the UK uses more water than an average African has for cooking, cleaning, washing and drinking each day.

10. Ten different countries rely on the River Nile for water.

Trading water?

15 May

I have been following companies involved in the development of water infrastructure and purification for a number of years. The global secular trends for this market have grown markedly. The more generic and somewhat less risky play to capture upside has been The PowerShares Water Resources Portfolio (PHO). More specific targets are Fluor Corporation (FLR), the Dow Chemical Company and Nalco Holding (NLC) among others. GE is too clustered with its financial arm to consider but they do also have exposure. 

Neil Berlant, Crowell, Weedon & Co. managing director on the water plight:

“The problem with talking about marketing water and transporting it and so forth presumes we have a genuine shortage of the availability of water; and I believe that’s kind of a misrepresentation of the facts. We really have plenty of water, only it’s not necessarily in the places where everybody wants to be, and number two, they don’t want to pay a fair market price for it. We can make water from desalination and other processes very effectively and very efficiently today.

… and you’re terribly resistant about paying more for it. That’s where water plays an entirely different role because we really don’t have an alternative to water, and as a consequence, we’re going to have to pay what it costs, what it takes to get it. Now, what affects the price that people overlook is not finding the water in the ordinary sense, it’s the distribution system. It’s what constrains the privatization of it, too, and we’re facing an enormous amount of expenditures necessary to fix what is in many instances a 150-year-old distribution system, which leaks and is decrepit. Bottom line, a lot of hurdles.”

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