Dan McCarthy, president and CEO of Black & Veatch.
Dan McCarthy, president and CEO of Black & Veatch.

Dan McCarthy, president and CEO of global water business Black & Veatch, is fighting back against “protectionist approaches” in the water industry.

Yesterday, he advocated continued international collaboration and cooperation and released a white paper titled Water Didn’t Start the Fight: Potential Impact of Protectionist Attitudes on Water/Wastewater Industry. It’s available here as a pdf.

In the paper, McCarthy says that economic problems have fueled protectionist attitudes not only in large water and wastewater markets like the United States and China, but also in smaller markets like Canada. He expresses concern that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) may have done more harm than good for the U.S. water/wastewater industry by providing much less stimulus money than needed to address infrastructure needs and less than what may be lost as other countries respond to the “Buy American” legislation.

McCarthy says that increasing protectionist measures and potential retaliation threaten to undo the industry’s strides to look beyond borders in addressing water and wastewater issues. In the paper, McCarthy calls for water industry leaders to “refuse to resurrect barriers that it has taken years to break down.”

“We need to continue to share best practices and help water utilities around the world understand each other’s points of views so that we reach a common goal of providing safe, clean, reliable water supplies for future generations in both developed and developing countries,” he said.

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