Vive Le Canada

Water Is The New Oil, Says CIBC
Date: Monday, November 27 2006
Topic:


And CIBC I,m sure would love shares in water as a commoditiy! Aren't they our sleeziest bank?

ROMA LUCIW
Globe and Mail Update

The colossal cost of fixing crumbling water infrastructure in the developed world has opened the door to government privatization.

Water delivery systems in the industrial world are in “dire need” of repair, says a report released Monday by CIBC World Markets Inc. At least one-fifth of America's municipal wastewater treatment facilities do not comply with federal regulations and in some U.S. cities, more than half of the water headed to consumers is lost along the way.

CIBC economist Benjamin Tal, author of the “Tapping into Water” report, estimates it will take “hundreds of billions of dollars” to fix dated water infrastructure in North America and Europe.

Federal governments are not rushing to fix the infrastructure and municipalities lack the means to do so. “As a result, governments are now much more open to the notion of privatizing their water infrastructure which, in turn, is providing a substantial boost to the private water industry,” Mr. Tal said.

“What we are witnessing here is a trend that is profoundly modifying water as an investment theme throughout the world.”

Canada has one of the world's largest supplies of fresh water, but has its own water woes. Some British Columbia residents remain under a boil-water advisory that first came into effect Nov. 16 when heavy rainfall triggered mudslides and caused runoff into the Vancouver region's reservoirs. There are fears that the water is contaminated with E. coli, the bacteria that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ont., six years ago. The bacteria entered the town's water supply from farm runoff, and residents had to boil or buy their water for seven months after that supply was tainted.

Meanwhile, the business of water is booming.

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