Despite a growing sense of crisis, water remains a precious commodity few talk about. But this silence is not indicative of a lack of business opportunity—quite the contrary. Technology, engineering, and utility firms worldwide are getting their feet wet literally, working in close coordination with governments and development organizations to provide clean and safe access to water to individuals, agriculture, and industrial users alike, delivered as part of market-based, profit-creating solutions. These developments owe much to a realization by governments and international donors that old models of water investment and sustainment have failed to keep up with ever rising demand. Despite this change in thinking and regulation, private sector firms, often gun-shy about working in the developing world, face a series of financial, timing, and planning challenges that must be appreciated and surmounted to ensure the success of a major water-related project. But with traditional opportunities in the developed world stalled by a lackluster global economy, firms may be increasingly predisposed to engagement in this emerging water business.
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