More than 100 professionals from the water andwastewater sectors gathered at the Harvard Club in New York City May 22 for thefirst annual Investing in Water Infrastructure Conference. The conferenceexplored investment opportunities for companies involved in these sectors andreported on current financing and funding initiatives taking place in the UnitedStates.
The event, sponsored by the Stanford Washington ResearchGroup and Underground Infrastructure Management, featured 12 prominentspeakers from various facets of the water and wastewater industries for thisday-long conference, as well as a luncheon keynote address from James Kennedy,mayor of Rahway, N.J.
Bill Bertera, executive director of the WaterEnvironment Federal, set the stage for the conference with his opening addresstitled, “Water Is Life … and Infrastructure Makes It Happen.” Speaking towhether there is a real crisis in the United States regarding water andwastewater infrastructure, Bertera remarked: “As a country, the United Stateshas plenty of water. The water is not always where we want it when we need it,but it is still generally available … if for a price.
“No one is dying from thirst, our food supply is notendangered and the number of people who perish each year from waterbornediseases in the United States is negligible … less than a dozen. Globally thetotal is 12 million deaths peryear.”
However, Bertera pointed out that there is a backlog ofinfrastructure needs and we need leadership and commitment by all segments ofthe public and private sectors to assure that adequate investment is made toguarantee clean water in the future.
Kennedy’s luncheon keynote provided an overview of hiscity’s public-private partnership with Veolia to manage its water system and howthis arrangement helped return the 150-year-old utility to sound financialfooting. Kennedy also outlined how the city dealt with the issues oftransitioning employees to a private entity.
Other speakers included: Jim Wiemken, Standard andPoor’s; George Majors, Bond Logistix; Steve Howard, Lehman Brothers; KevinMcCarthy, GE Energy Financial Services; Joe Burgess, Veolia Water North America;Peter Cook, National Association of Water Companies; Dave Chardavoyne and DougEvanson, San Antonio Water System; Debra Coy, Stanford Washington ResearchGroup; Scot Pearson, Insituform; Sam Box and Doug Smith, Tetra Tech; and PamMalone, Itron.
Corporate sponsors for the event included United Water,Tetra Tech and Renaissance Solutions (host sponsor). Association partnersincluded WEF, NAWC, Water Partnership Council, NUCA, IPWA, Liquid Assets, NCPPPand AGC.
For more information on the Investing in WaterInfrastructure Conference, visit www.uimonline.com/iwic.