Friday, October 19, 2007

Water whets the appetite of commodity traders with an eye to the next fortune

From the Times of London:

Global shortages of water could lead to the precious liquid being exchanged in a similar way to permission schemes used by countries for carbon dioxide, the head of one of the world’s leading exchanges said yesterday.

Craig Donohue, chief executive of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), said that water could become a commodity as droughts and demand place huge pressures on river systems and water tables.

Trading water as a commodity would, it is argued, put financial pressure on users to keep consumption down, in the same way that carbon emission trading schemes penalise the biggest polluters.

It would be a market-based mechanism to force greater efficiency among business users by penalising heavy consumption. While offering a lucrative option for traders, the market would be designed to reduce the pressures that are already said to have contributed to war and starvation....MORE

From BusinessWeek:

The South: In Hot Water About Water

The Southeast is thirsty. Because of a record drought, Atlanta now has 87 days of drinking water left if rain doesn't fall soon. Raleigh, N.C., has 97 days.

Some restaurants in Atlanta aren't offering drinking water unless asked. Farmers in North Carolina are so low on hay that they've begun selling cattle. And dams along the Savannah River have gotten to such low levels this summer they've fallen short of generating the hydropower promised to help keep the region's air conditioners blasting....MORE