Neil Grigg on private sector forays into water: ‘They run into regulation that sabotages their plans, and then have left…A lot of them have come and gone’


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“I think people get interested in water and try to get into it with plans that seem to make sense,” said Neil Grigg, an engineering professor at CSU. “They run into regulation that sabotages their plans, and then have left. A lot of them have come and gone.”

Grigg has just published “Water Finance, Public Responsibilities and Private Opportunities,” a book that explores the worldwide water business from home plumbing to dam building. Many of the issues in the book apply to what is happening in Colorado because of competing uses for a limited supply of water.

Grigg — who has years of experience as a water researcher, policymaker, administrator and consultant — portrays the water industry as a spectrum ranging from a central water authority to a free market, saying water in Colorado falls somewhere in between.

Private developers are planning larger projects than in the past because government resources to build and maintain projects have been depleted. “Large private companies are operating around the world,” Grigg said. “Water has become a commodity, with these companies buying and selling water, and wheeling it to different places.”[…]

A quick Internet search turned up two dozen water marketers in the state, ranging from real estate agents ready to bargain with water rights to entrepreneurs, including former Gov. Bill Owens, who are trying to peddle a single-source supply…

“Global hunger and the aspirations of billions of people for better diets mean that the requirements for irrigation water will not diminish, but will increase.”

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