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Posted Sun Jun 27 2010: from National Geographic:
Alaska Town Eyes Shipping Water Abroad
Can Alaska, with its deep, wide lakes, and sparse population, quench the world's thirst? An opportunistic American company thinks it can, despite many logistical hurdles and questions about transporting freshwater in bulk across the seas. The town of Sitka in Southeastern Alaska features a distinctive cobalt jewel: the Blue Lake reservoir, a lake fed by abundant rain, snow and glacial runoff, connected by pipeline to the local deepwater port. For nearly a decade, the town has tried to turn this ample, pure freshwater resource into a commodity for thirsty buyers in the lower 48 states--and even overseas. It has offered contracts to sell up to 9.5 billion gallons a year, or about 8 percent of the reservoir's volume, to interested buyers at a rate of one cent per gallon. Several companies have tried and failed to make the venture profitable. But Terry Trapp, a Colorado businessman who is partnering with San Antonio-based S2C Global Systems, believes he may have a willing market in the Middle East. "There are water shortages and people who need water all over the world," said Trapp. "But the people in the most dire straits are in the Middle East."... "There are more sustainable solutions like rainwater harvesting," Karunananthan said. "This [Sitka] project will not serve the environment in any way."... "If that water sits in the hold of a tanker for weeks traveling across the ocean, when it arrives it's not spring water anymore; you're going to have to clean it up," said James McNiven, a professor of public administration at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia who has studied the potential of Canada's bulk water industry. "As a business proposition this gets to be very expensive and chances are the economics don't work."
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