"God is not making any more water"
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 12 06:14:53 MDT 2002
Washington Post, Monday, August 12, 2002
Water's Flow From Private Hands
Thirsty, Growing States Turn to New Sources to Meet Demand
By William Booth
CADIZ, Calif. -- This is one big, dry state, and Keith Brackpool wants to
slake its thirst.
The politically connected British wheeler-dealer is pressing ahead with an
ingenious plan to sell billions of gallons of drinking water to Southern
California from his company's aquifer, buried here beneath the broiling
badlands of the Mojave Desert.
Contentious? They don't call them "water wars" for nothing.
Brackpool has both serious friends and committed opponents. He has steered
$250,000 into the campaign coffers of Gov. Gray Davis (D) and secured the
services of former interior secretary Bruce Babbitt as a consultant for
dealings in Egypt. Former Democratic congressman Tony Coelho serves as a
board member. But Brackpool is now battling with the Sierra Club and Sen.
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who fears CEO Brackpool's Cadiz Inc. will suck
the aquifer dry and damage the fragile ecosystem of her beloved Mojave.
But the thirsty states are booming with growth, and, as one hydrologist put
it, "God is not making any more water."
The challenges are not limited to California and the West. Water is
increasingly seen as a limited commodity around the world, and now into the
breach comes private enterprise -- to operate aging municipal water systems
(in cities such as Atlanta and Indianapolis) and to sell water outright
from farms to cities.
Whether that means consumers will pay more for what comes out of the tap
remains to be seen, but entrepreneurs are betting they'll make money.
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