"For Openers" discusses industry-related issues.

From the “We-could-have-told-you-that-but-since-you-went-to-all-the-time-and-effort …” files: The well-respected NUS Consulting Group recently revealed the results of its annual private water-cost survey. The survey found that in the last 12 months, the cost of water in the United States increased by 4.5 percent. That's slightly higher than the rate of inflation and in line with the increases seen in recent years, which have run between 4 percent and 6 percent.

The survey concludes that the biggest factors of the rising costs are infrastructure issues, primarily the repair and upkeep of existing water systems. Cited as an example is Denver, which endured a 35.2 percent increase, largely due to infrastructure expenses and increases to promote the conservation of water.

This trend is expected to continue; overall, water bills will continue to rise. Between the need for conservation, stricter water quality standards and an aging infrastructure, costs will continue to go up. Some systems are more than 100 years old; they will need to be upgraded and that will be reflected in higher water bills.

The survey acknowledges that there has been a lot of consolidation, with acquisitions of water companies by foreign conglomerates, because a lot of municipalities are coming to the realization that it has become too expensive to run their water systems. They are throwing up their hands and turning over the systems to professionals.

Trade Show Season

It's that time of year again - lots of trade shows coming up. Jump-starting things is the national show in Las Vegas. If can make that big event, please be sure to stop by our booth. You can say, “hi,” and exchange pleasantries, or you can sneak up and kick us in the shins - either way, we'll appreciate your interest.

The National Ground Water Association also just officially announced a new technical conference. The first-ever Ground Water Summit, hosted by the Association of Ground Water Scientists and Engineers takes place April 17-20, 2005, in San Antonio, Texas. The event will explore technical information, new science and policies related to ground water, and will be highlighted by a presentation from Texas oilman and entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens titled, “The Politics of Oil and Water.” For further details on the summit, visit www.ngwa.org.

Note to ALL the state and regional show people: Please send us follow-up information from your events. A short write-up and a few photos appearing in National Driller would look pretty nice, right?

Greetings from Marengo

Amy Keller, representing Marengo Well & Pump of Marengo, Ill., writes: “This is my husband Larry's favorite picture of his 'new' 1996 TH60 drill rig, set up drilling its first irrigation well. This photo is hanging in our office and we get all kinds of great comments. People just don't believe the amount of water there. Thought it might look great in your magazine. Thanks.”

Thank you, Amy.