Often, governments start out trying to be all things to all citizens. Unfortunately, governments have a history of falling short on initial promises for a variety of reasons including, political bickering and trying to do too much at the cost of often not doing some things well.
One might think that providing its citizens with potable water would be a very high priority for any responsible government. Yet we are seeing increasing evidence that this is not necessarily so.
Recent examples include the Flint, MI failure, the inability to effectively deal with decades long and recurring drought conditions in California and now we have reports that, despite years of warning, South Africa is unable to manage drought conditions to the extent that Cape Town is on the verge of being virtually out of water.
These failures are only the tip of the iceberg as billions of people around the globe do not have consistent access to safe, potable water. This is really inexcusable as proven technologies, at very low costs, are widely available.
The Flint MI, California and South African failures are particularly egregious as all three of these locations are situated next to very large bodies of water.
Apart from the obvious fact that water is essential to human life, government competence should be a critical variable to investment decisions.
All comments and suggestions are welcome.
Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA