World Water Day - Monday 22nd March 2010

By Kleinwort Benson, Monday, 22nd March 2010 | 0 comments

The theme of this year’s World Water Day, 2010 (Monday 22nd March) emphasises the risks surrounding both the quality and the quantity of water resources around the world.

According to Jean Ryan, a member of the KBC Asset Management team of environmental investment specialists, “World Water Day is important in reminding us that the quality of Irish water is also a major issue. An Environmental Protection Agency report found that levels of E.coli contamination in Irish drinking water supplies are nearly 30 times higher than found in supplies in England and Wales, with one third of all public water supplies identified as potentially risky to human health and requiring replacement or upgrading.

“Somewhat incredibly and despite our wet climate, parts of Ireland are forecast to run out of water and that means the pressure is on to reduce current leakage rates that ranges between 16.8% and 58.6%. The greater Dublin region uses 550 million litres of water per day, but current water supplies will not be sufficient to meet the city’s increasing population beyond 2016. Plans to pump water to Dublin from lakes on the river Shannon are being worked on but in the meantime moves are afoot to reduce wastage by businesses and consumers. On top of the €4.6 billion that has been spent by the state on water over the past decade the Irish Government announced in January that investment in replacing water mains will increase five-fold over the next three years.”

She added, “Ireland is the only country in Europe which doesn’t have water metering and where we don’t charge domestically but this will change soon - proposals to government are expected in the next few weeks regarding the installation of water meters to 1.1m homes connected to the public water supply and we’re soon to move to a pay-per-use system country-wide. The international experience is that there can be significant water savings arising from the installation of meters.

“We have been investing in water infrastructure, water distribution and treatments and innovative water technologies for the past 10 years from our base in Dublin. Because of this we know more than most that the world has the know-how to solve these challenges so that we can become better stewards of our water resource. The KBCAM team is now one of the world’s leading investors in clean water and our research team continuously searches for the latest technology such as water desalination technology that has made extraordinary progress over the last couple of years. These opportunities have meant that our KBC Water Fund has on average delivered excess gross returns ahead of the MSCI World of more than 5% per annum since the fund was launched.”

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