James Warden, Finance and Commerce -- Worries about water shortages are already affecting companies’ decisions about where to locate and what technology to invest in, Ecolab CEO Doug Baker said Tuesday during a conference at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Baker pointed to the St. Paul-based company he heads as an example. Ecolab, one of Minnesota’s largest water technology companies, needs to build a new facility in the Texas or Louisiana area.
One of the key questions in choosing a location is whether there will be enough water to support the facility for the next 40 years. The concern isn’t an idle one when the company has seen some of its customers’ facilities go “fallow” in places like India and China for lack of water. “Water is the secret ingredient in everything we make,” said Baker, who gave the keynote speech. “I don’t care if you’re talking about cars, textiles, food, energy, electricity. There is nothing we do that doesn’t take a lot of water.”