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US company plans to ship fresh water from Alaska to India

September 7, 2010

From the Guardian

Imagine an oil tanker plowing through the ocean, hauling valuable cargo from resource-rich nations of the world to the countries that need it: but instead of oil, the tanker holds millions of gallons of fresh water.

It’s not a vision from some futuristic film or doomsday novel, but the present-day intention of companies trying to launch the bulk water export business. The idea has been around since the 1990’s, yet no one has succeeded in making it a practical reality.

But last July, the US company S2C Global Systems, Inc. became the latest bulk water wanna-be by announcing it would begin shipping water from Alaska to India within the next six to eight months. Using large class vessels that can hold 50 million gallons at a time, S2C plans to sell the water for both manufacturing and drinking purposes to countries around the Arabian Sea.

“I think it’s a dream,” said Peter Gleick, a scientist and international water expert, in an interview with SolveClimate News. Gleick is President of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security. “I don’t think bulk water transfers of any significant volume are ever going to happen, because the cost of moving water, especially across the ocean, is so high.”

Rod Bartlett, managing partner of Alaska Resource Management (a partnership between S2C and True Alaska Bottling), told SolveClimate News that S2C is finalizing legal issues and logistics for a “World Water Hub” on the western coast of India. Once it’s built, the hub will be a distribution point from which the company plans to deliver water to target destinations in the Middle East and northern Africa.

“Every nation within a four-day target of the hub is a potential customer or client that will need fresh water,” said Bartlett. Without revealing specific details, Bartlett added that S2C has received both spoken and “written expressions of interest.”

The water S2C plans to export will come from Alaska’s Blue Lake near the city of Sitka, about 90 miles southwest of Juneau. Since 1999, Sitka has promoted itself as a source for bulk water exports; True Alaska Bottling owns the water rights to 8 million gallons per day from Blue Lake.

From the Guardian

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