Water flows uphill toward money. That phrase was often heard in the American West during the 19th century, when opportunistic settlers headed west in search of undeveloped land, and irrigation played a major role in the cultivation of the region. Today, many investors are looking to water infrastructure as a profitable endeavor, tackling social, political and environmental challenges to meet the public demand for clean, safe water systems.
From the Current Issue
Plan sponsors, investment advisers and government officials from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America gathered in Washington, D.C., Nov. 30–Dec. 3, 2009, for the fourth annual Institutional Investing in Infrastructure (I3) conference and the inaugural meeting of the Editorial Advisory Board meeting for the I3 newsletter (see “The Board Meets” on page 13).
If it is true that a civilization is measured by the quality of its roads, then we soon face a reckoning. From the Erie Canal and the Transcontinental Railroad to the New Deal, the Federal Highway Act and the Internet, the chapters of our American success story have always been written in stone and mortar, iron and steel, granite and fiber-optic cable. And if we continue to perilously ignore our infrastructure base, we risk a day — not so long in the future — when America will wake up to find itself a second-rate economic power.
Stanton Hazelroth is the first executive director of the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank), a financing entity housed within the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. In this capacity, Hazelroth manages and directs the Infrastructure Bank’s day-to-day operations and affairs.