Pickens: Water is the New Oil

T. Boone Pickens, the legendary corporate raider and oilman believes that water is the new oil. A recent BusinessWeek article discusses his investment and and his convictions on the water supply opportunity and his company, Mesa Water's plans. This is an interesting story, microcosmic of the critical issue and opportunity in water that is bubbling up globally.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

Into this environment comes Pickens, who made a good living for a long time extracting oil and gas and now, at 80, believes the era of fossil fuel is over. So far he has spent $100 million and eight years on his project and still has not found any city in Texas willing to buy his water. But like many others, Pickens believes there's a fortune to be made in slaking the thirst of a rapidly growing population. If he pumps as much as he can, he could sell about $165 million worth of water to Dallas each year. "The idea that water can be sold for private gain is still considered unconscionable by many," says James M. Olson, one of America's preeminent attorneys specializing in water- and land-use law. "But the scarcity of water and the extraordinary profits that can be made may overwhelm ordinary public sensibilities."

"Water is a commodity," he says. "Heck, isn't it like oil? You have to come back to who owns the water. The groundwater is owned by the landowner. That's it." When it comes to potential buyers, Pickens cares about only one thing: how much they're willing to pay. "Do I care what Dallas does with the water? Hell no."

Read the full article: 

There Will Be Water, Susan Berfield, BusinessWeek, June 12, 2008

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