Nicholas DeBenedictis draws on credentials from both sides of the fence when he says business can do a better job than government at the essential service of providing clean drinking water. Although he’s served for 14 years as chief executive of Aqua America, the largest U.S.-based publicly traded water company, in the 1980s he held two of Pennsylvania’s top state government posts: head of the Office of Economic Development and, later, secretary of environmental resources. As a trained engineer and former president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, he’s keenly aware of the work that needs to be done on the nation’s water infrastructure and the importance of finding a reasonable way to pay for it.
Recently, DeBenedictis has been an outspoken opponent of private-equity firms’ involvement in water systems. Some observers point out that DeBenedictis has good business reason to worry: The wealthy buyout firms are bidding up the price of systems that Aqua America, which has been on an aggressive acquisition spree, might like to take over. But the issues he raises about the need for long-term commitment are sure to resonate with the regulators who will scrutinize private equity’s forays into the water business.
U.S. News recently talked with DeBenedictis about the challenges ahead.
The article provides some interesting insights. An added bonus is the article’s sidebar of links, including:
- Q&A: Who Should Control Water?
- Water Woes
- Ways to Preserve Our Water Supply
- Sin City Is Wheeling and Dealing to Satisfy Its Cravings for Cool, Clear Water
- Harnessing a Mighty Force
- Wasteful Irrigation, Poor Sanitation, and Pollution Plague the World’s Freshwater Supply
- Pipelines and Lifelines
- Help From the Hydrant
- The Coming Water Crisis (Aug. 4, 2002)
Click on Title link to view entire article. Thanks to the Source Water Collaborative for the submission.