The Great 21st Century Water Opportunity

Comments Off on The Great 21st Century Water Opportunity
The Great 21st Century Water Opportunity

Throughout human history, water has been a crucial economic and political resource.  While much of the news we hear or see is devoted to energy and food, nothing matters more to humans than access to clean, fresh water.  A human being can go three weeks on average without food.  But we can only live three days without water.  More infant mortality in this world results from a lack of clean water than from any other cause.  A study by the United Nations showed that at least 1.6 million people die needlessly each year from the lack of clean water and adequate sanitation.1

Water is a $425 billion a year industry, which ranks as the third largest business in the world, behind fossil fuels and electricity.  Between 2000 and 2005, the stocks of companies involved in processing and providing water soared 134 percent, while some individual companies rose in value by a factor of five.  Furthermore, the water industry is expected to grow at two to three times the rate of the global economy during the next two decades.

According to a report from Strategic Asset Management,2 a consulting firm in Switzerland, the emerging global market in water is the result of four important trends: 

  1. Population growth.  People need water not only to drink, but to grow crops and to use in industrial processes.  In 1900, the Earth only had 1.5 billion inhabitants.  By the middle of the 21st century, the population will rise to a predicted nine billion. 
  2. Infrastructure.  In many countries, the equipment used for cleaning and distributing drinking water is in need of replacement or repair.  In all too many places, a huge percentage of the available fresh water is lost by the distribution system.  In the years ahead, there will be heavy investment in water mains, processing plants, and sewer systems.
  3. Water quality.  New industrial processes are contributing previously unknown pollutants to the water supply in various countries, even as the standards for drinking water are being raised.  New technologies and businesses will be required to remove those pollutants.
  4. Climate change.  If the Earth continues to warm as many scientists expect, water will shift its geographic location and rainfall patterns will change.  Some areas will become wetter and others dryer.  This will inevitably create a water crisis in some areas. 

Those trends mean that water will have to be managed differently in the future, creating business opportunities that were inconceivable just a few years ago...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund