TEXT OF STORY
Bob Moon: The United Nations is playing host to an international conference on Water Resource Management today. Speakers at the two day event include U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as well as executives from some of the world’s biggest conglomerates, including GE and Siemens.
As Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports, water and water infrastructure have quickly become very, very big business.
Steve Henn: In the next 20 years, American cities will need to invest more than $250 billion to update their water systems. And infrastructure needs in the U.S. are just one piece of an enormous global water market.
Private equity investors and major corporations have taken notice:
Kathy Shandling: What we are talking about is trillions of dollars.
Kathy Shandling is the executive director of the International Private Water Association. Her group believes private investment is the only way to bring clean water to the masses.
But Wenonah Hauter at Food and Water Watch says many advances being pushed by corporate titans are impractical in the developing world.
Wenonah Hauter: Our concern is that the wrong technologies are going to be selected and that they’re gonna cost more than they should.
Right now, roughly 1 billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water. And more than twice that number don’t have water for sanitation.
In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.