Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Water Shortage 2025

Excellent CBC program last night.  Droughts throughout the world (that I was largely unaware of) plus global warming have illucidated several water issues in our fast-approaching future.  The problem is not water per se, but a lack of fresh water.  We are all aware of the bushfire problems in recent years in Australia, California, and the devastating fire a few years back in Kelowna, B.C.  As droughts persist this fire problem will only get worse.  A threat I wasn't aware of was that of African-based locusts which, when physically crowded due to lack of food, undergo a physical change that causes them to swarm.  It is projected that as northern Africa increasingly can't support these eating machines swarms of many billions of them may be blown across the Mediterranean into Europe, with devastating consequences.  Drought has already caused a huge dust storm problem in Asia which is only going to get worse.  As desertification progresses, of course, there will be human migrations of immense proportions - probably exacerbated by the concomitant flooding of coastal cities due to icecap meltwater and more powerful storms, both due to climate change.  Geopolitical fights over water resources complete the rosy outlook.  So, how to invest in water?  Bottled water isn't a great bet in my estimation, but companies that design, build and operate water pipelines, components and facilities should do increasingly well.  This may be an area - like rare earths - that will suddenly enter the investing public's consciousness in a big way, so be prepared.  W.C. Fields would rollover in his grave.