From the PPIC – Conversation with Stanford law and environmental social sciences professor Barton “Buzz” Thompson. The public sector is inherently conservative, and it should be when it comes to freshwater. If your iPhone malfunctions, it’s an inconvenience. If the system that supplies water to San Francisco malfunctions, that could be a public health crisis. But in many cases, it’s too conservative. Governmental agencies just don’t have the same incentive to embrace new, creative ideas as the private sector. The public sector is also highly fragmented. Many small utilities don’t have funds to replace current infrastructure, and frequently they have no R&D program, which is where you’d typically interact with the private sector. They can’t invest in new technologies. That makes it hard to take advantage of what the private sector has to offer. (more)