Water could be the next key global commodity, even though it falls from the sky! Susan Story, CEO of American Water Works (AWK), tells TheStreet’s Jill Malandrino that there is a complex process involved that is required to make sure water gets to where people need it and that it is the right quality of water. AWK services 15 million people in 45 states and Canada and because of that broad scope, Story explains that a focus on Research and Development is key, as well as working with government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency to expand technology projects. Story says water is a crucial commodity because if you don’t have ground or surface water and conservation efforts have been exhausted, there is desalination of ocean water and water recycling and that is why technological advancements are important to the industry and ultimately the public consumer. September is National Preparedness Month, meaning the industry draws attention to resiliency and national disaster planning to make sure that people have water in a catastrophic event. It is a way to educate consumers on how to prepare and react for a major weather event like El Nino, a complex weather pattern resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. Story explains the potential positive and negative effects as meteorologists are predicting one of the strongest El Nino seasons on record. The good news is it will replenish depleted water supplies if the season is as strong as anticipated, which California is in need of. On the flip side, if rainfalls are severe, the ground cannot handle that in quick spurts, so a company like AWK will look to capture as much excess water as it can to be used when it is needed the most.
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