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In the Works: Shipping Supertankers of Alaskan Drinking Water to India

Alaska

Talk about capitalizing on the resource shortages of the future: Texas-based S2C Global Systems plans to ship water from Sitka, a tiny water-rich town off Alaska’s southeast coast, to India’s west coast. Alaska Resource Management, a joint venture between S2C and True Alaska Bottling, holds the rights to export 2.9 billion gallons of water per year from Sitka’s Blue Lake Reservoir. If the deal succeeds, it will be the first bulk water export venture ever, potentially reaping $26 million to $90 million annually for the city of Sitka.

The shipping process won’t be cheap. S2C’s so-called “World Water Hub” in India will have room for two offloading vessels worth $41 million and $81 million, respectively. And during the bulk water’s trip from Alaska to India, S2C plans to protect its liquid gold from bacterial growth with a pricey ozonation system.

As crazy as it initially sounds to those of us with readily accessible water in our faucets, S2C’s plan kind of makes sense. The bulk water market may not be big yet, but Grail Research predicts that 3 billion people will live below the “water stress” threshold by 2025. Many of those people will live in India, China, and other rapidly developing countries.

But we’re not banking on S2C’s success. Alexis Madrigal reports at the Atlantic:

S2C Global, despite its name, is a penny stock that’s bounced from business to business. True Alaska Bottling has had trouble of its own. TAB floundered in its previous water bottling business and ended up thousands of dollars in arrears to the city of Sitka.

Even if S2C’s plan fails, we doubt that this will be the last word from bulk water exporters. It’s only natural that resource-rich areas try to make a buck off resource-poor regions–even if that resource is something as seemingly plentiful as water.

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