September 12, 2012 - RISK
(The Large Nasty Beast and Dinner)

Presented to the Northwest Bottled Water Association 2012

In 1992 I gave a speech to the first meeting of the NWBWA in this very same hotel. I have lived sufficiently long enough to return to give a twenty year retrospective on these two decades and to look at the world then and now. I consider this a privilege and an honor to have been invited to speak during such an occasion. I was fifty two then and now I am 72. As we get older, certain things change in our lives that are perhaps inevitable. There are two profound changes with age as I see it.

The first change is being extremely happy that I did not know then what I know now. It’s not that I did not have the awareness or the knowledge so much as I did not have the wisdom to adequately deal with the knowledge.

The second is having a patience with time that testosterone does not often allow. It does not mean that I am less passionate about life. It simply means I am more patient with life and love. And perhaps more at peace. I think I also see life as more precious - all life not just mine or those close to me. Time has permitted me to see the wholeness of the concept of living. There is no longer a division of concept of life, but a fully inclusionary vision of the whole of all creatures. For these reasons, I have accepted the concept of risk as being part of life and a very necessary part of commitment to a cause, a vision or a business or to a sense of future.

So, with this state of affairs established and an understanding of my personal perspective, what do I see that has changed? Where do I see the future leading us as individuals and bottlers? In my opinion the determination of risk is going to be the challenge - more than ever.

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November 21, 2008 - Water: The Foundation of Peaceful Crisis Intervention in Times of Social and Environmental Disaster

BY HENRY R. HIDELL, III Chairman of the Board
Prepared for the WAFUNIF Symposium United Nations New York, New York

I am grateful to have this opportunity to participate in this WAFUNIF symposium on peace building mechanisms for the 21st Century. I have been working in water matters as a scientist and businessman since 1960, or nearly 50 years. I started out as a naturalist and geologist for a watershed protection association and today my work is focused on water resource management, the application of advanced water technologies and global allocations, as well as emergency water supply systems. In addition, much of our research today is in an effort to develop efficacious nutritional programs and formulas to be delivered by packaged water for those regions where malnutrition is endemic. I am a geologist, practicing in the field of hydrogeology, and I am an economist working in the area of water valuation and water technology through my firm, Hidell-Eyster International, a global technical and management consultancy.

I will take a moment and describe the water world I see and how it is changing. I travel some 400,000 miles per year in all regions of the world. My assessment of the water resources available for human endeavor is that many regions are at a very high level of risk of inadequate water supplies through intense contamination levels with direct impact on human health, the natural expansion of desert prone regions, and simply the lack of adequate water resources as climate change occurs such as we are beginning to see in mid-temperate zones. Access to water resources is going to become the key economic driver of the 21st Century. Although oil is an important resource, water has the ability to drive both power and life, while oil only drives power. Thus, I see water as a renewable resource being able to sustain major social and political activity.

As many of us who work in water management as scientists and economists observe these changes, we are also acutely aware of the social and political institutions of societies failing to grasp in their basic tenants the need for a new set of principles of global water management. Our governments are seeking to protect their assumed rights to their water resources, recognizing that their very security as discrete political, social and economic entities could well be challenged in times of water shortages. This is becoming very evident in the area of the world’s boundary waters. The recent ratification of the Great Lakes Basin Initiative by those US states and Canadian provinces along these waters is only the beginning of the changes that will be required. The Great Lakes Basin Initiative represents a structure developed between only two nations with similar history, culture and social institutions - a commonality. In many regions of boundary waters the civil structure has not been developed adequately to address this emerging crisis. The Danube River flowing through Western and Central Europe represents a much more complex set of boundaries and cultural interests. Here the river has been the defining boundary of disparate social, economic and political institutions built not on a foundation of commonality, but on the principles of the “spoils of war” dividing the natural geography of commonality of culture and society through political interests. The challenge of water allocation will be far more arduous in this setting.

Without a clear understanding of the physical environment of water resources and clear appreciation of the absolute need for social institutions to modify their assumptions of rights of ownership, the civil order of human endeavor is absolutely at risk on the issue of water accessibility. We must have the wisdom and patience to live a century into the future.

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