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South American cities seeking investment to finance ‘smart water’ infrastructure projects

South American cities are seeking investment capital for $9.5 billion in order to help them develop and construct 'smart water' infrastructure projects across the continent.

A report that was compiled and subsequently published by the CDP has highlighted opportunities to finance urban 89 water projects focused mainly in Latin America. Governments all across the region are continuing to embrace technological solutions and innovations in a bid to transform its public services, in other words they're attempting to make their cities 'smarter'.

The issue of having too little or too much water can both be huge problems for fast-growing cities all over the world. However, Latin America is using examples from other cities around the world in order to address its problems.

For example, the Chinese city of Chennai, which was left devastated in 2015 following its worst rainfall in over 100 years. Following that natural disaster it decided to construct urban water infrastructure in an attempt to boost resilience through conservation education, new storm-water management systems and other green infrastructure.

CDP is an international non-profit organization supported by AECOM and Bloomberg Philanthropies suggested that eighty cities are seeking $9.5 billion for 89 different water management projects. Latin America has been identified as the center of the urban water project finance with cities in the region requiring $6.7 billion to embark on 'smart water' infrastructure projects.

One South America city looking for a substantial investment to overhaul its water systems is Quito in Ecuador. It is seeking $800 million to construct three hydropower stations in a bid to address the serious issue of contamination in its rivers. Whilst, projects in North America cities are seeking $2.7 billion of the $9.5 billion tabled and that was submitted before Hurricane Harvey.

Morgan Gillespy, head of CDP's water program, says cities and companies are facing up to the threat of flooding, "putting the tipping point for a sustainable economy in reach." The McKinsey Global Institute estimates $7.5 trillion of water-related investment will be needed globally in the next 15 years, and conceded that priority needed to be given to the South American region.