Steve Maxwell: ‘We’re going to see big companies start making decisions based on the availability of water’

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“We’re going to see a shift in population (migration),” said Steve Maxwell, an investment banker who co-wrote “The Future of Water” with Scott Yates. “We’ll begin to see water issues affecting demographic changes.” That means places with plenty of water, for example Buffalo, N.Y., and Cleveland, may become more desirable than sun belt destinations such as Las Vegas and Tucson. Maxwell’s comments were a wet blanket during the 54th annual convention of the Colorado Water Congress, which for years has been wrestling with the potential for future shortfalls in state water supply…

In his global view, water is increasingly becoming a commodity, like oil and gas, as well as a necessity for human life. Water projects are attracting more private investment and will cost more as time goes by. As an investment banker, Maxwell sees similarities to other commodities for water: It’s critical to the world economy; there is a fixed amount; the demand is increasing. Unlike coal, oil, gas or any other commodity, there is no substitute for water. In addition to finding a supply, there are huge costs looming in maintaining or repairing infrastructure. Private companies are taking over where public water providers leave off, Maxwell said. “We’re going to see big companies start making decisions based on the availability of water,” he said. “And it will impact personal decisions as well.”

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