The privatization of the nation's water industry is set to explode in the next five years, according to the findings of a recent survey.
WeiserMazars LLP, a New York-based tax and advisory services firm, detailed the findings in its first annual U.S. Water Industry Outlook (pdf), in which professionals from the industry, representing privately owned businesses and public utilities, shed light on the near future for the water industry.
And what the next three to five years hold, according to the results, is a surge in privatization and public-private partnerships in a quest to capitalize on the resource.
As Jerome Devillers, Head of Water Infrastructure/Project Financing at WeiserMazars stated bluntly in a release, "Our study shows the time is ripe" for water privatization.
With water scarcity growing WeiserMazars sees water rights and access to water fees increasing as well -- and therefore attracting the interest of private equity and hedge funds, who can capitalize in the takeover of the public good.
Though "negative public perception" has blocked some water privatization efforts, tax increases needed to increase revenue for aging water infrastructure has been unpopular, and semi-privatizations are being enacted.
In next three to five years, most survey respondents -- 71% -- thought there would be a "significant amount of acquisitions of small sized utilities by larger investor owned utilities"