It’s easy to underestimate the impact of water scarcity when water supplies seem just fine. But the reality is – water scarcity is a problem for billions of people today.
Empty reservoirs, dried up rivers and thirsty cities haunt policymakers the world over. Not least because of climate change. That’s undoubtedly contributed to May 2020 being the driest month on record for England.
Additionally, England’s demand for water could outstrip supply by up to 3.1bn litres per day by 2050. Global water demand is set to rise by up to 30% by 2050 and more than four billion people are already suffering water shortages for at least one month every year.
In this article, we’ll explore where the water is going, how you can be part of the great water gold rush (if you’re business-minded), the possible coming water wars and much more. So first let’s address the most important question...
Where’s all the Water Going?
Contrary to popular belief, chugging down bottled water is not the main issue.
For most of the world, water is used mainly by agriculture and industry.
Leaving little for the householder (municipal).
Asia’s wealth and population is fast-growing. Already 75% of its water supply is guzzled by agriculture.
Additionally, 59.76% of the total world population lives in Asia. What happens there has a significant impact on the global climate. Urban Asia is growing by 120,000 people per day, and showing no signs of slowing.
According to the United Nations, 600 million people will be added to the Indian population, while 100 million people will be added to the Chinese population. In the next generation alone. Putting additional pressure on an already fragile ecosystem.
One thing that COVID has taught us, is that we’re all connected.
Another issue is leaking pipes. Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water sector in England and Wales, says that about three billion litres per day are lost due to leaks.
Water is essential for life. Plus it’s used in the production of just about everything.
The creation of a pair of jeans will cost you 2,906 gallons of water. A steak will skin you 1,857 gallons of water.
Pardon the pun!
This means that as the water supplies dry up, the cost of EVERYTHING will most likely skyrocket.
The Population Explosion
It’s no secret, the global human population is exploding. The UN predicts that the population will see exponential growth, from 7 billion today to 10 billion by 2050.
Currently 750 million people “lack access to clean drinking water.”
The resources are becoming scarce due to many factors. Not least the burden of the gargantuan human population. To put this into perspective, the world is growing by 200,000 every single day – that’s 75 million extra people every year.
People use between 23 gallons to 150 gallons of water each day. This averages out at 86.5 gallons. So we need an extra 17 million gallons of water each day for the new arrivals on Earth.
As a natural commodity becomes scarce, its value soars.
What Do Water & Ferraris Have in Common?
Today, the average Chinese citizen will use just 23 gallons of water. Americans, in comparison, use 150 gallons of water per day.
The difference? Wealth.
As a country gets wealthier, its population consumes more water.
In 2018, 183 Ferraris were sold in China. Compared with 328 in 2019. That’s a 20.3% increase, in just one year.
As China catches up with the plush lifestyles of the rich in the US, who currently buy around 8,400 Ferraris each year, the water supplies will suffer because there’s a clear link between water usage (across all areas) and wealth.
Take a cup of coffee for instance; it takes 140 gallons of water to make one cup of coffee. Due to the amount of water required to grow the beans, process and transport them around the world. Not to mention the high-tech machines that use a great deal of water.
And as we all know, coffee is the symbol of civilisation.
Water as the Next Gold Rush
In 2010 alone, global water generated over a half-trillion dollars of revenue.
The water business in the US and Europe is expanding. Water vehicles alone have doubled to $10bn over the last five years.
With growing concerns around water quality, the Bottled Water Market is set to almost double in value by 2022, from $169.8 billion in 2015 to $319.8 billion.
Investors around the world are seeing water as the next gold rush. Justin Winter, portfolio manager at Impax Asset Management, states: “The global opportunity is pretty enormous.”
5 Ways to Invest in Emerging Water Industries
If you’re interested in investing in water, then check out:
- Some of the biggest water stocks: Veolia Environment, GDF Suez Energy, PowerShares Water Resources, PowerShares Global Water and Guggenheim S&P Global Water Index.
Shares not your thing?
Here are some other ways to get involved in the new gold rush:
- Buy agricultural land with a good water supply
- Start a company that provides water services, pipes/ tanks
- Invest in gadgets to store, clean, recycle and move water
- Smart meters, sensors and remote controls
Possible Issues Surrounding the Water Business
If you’re anything like me, the idea of drinking processed sewage will turn your stomach.
However, this is a solution used by many water companies.
“There is a significant need for more water resources” says Dr Chris Lambert, at Thames.
Thames is one of the largest water suppliers, providing most of the water for London, England.
One way that water issues can be solved is by diverting water from one reservoir to another. This could mean going across national boundaries. Which could lead to water wars in the near future, experts suggest.
Lambert also pointed out that nature could be impacted by the transportation of water from one area to another. Stating, “We need to make sure we are not causing environmental damage.”
The Bottom Line
Water is most certainly the next gold rush. Plus prices are guaranteed to soar as supplies become more scarce.
At present, there are no real long-term plans for beating the coming water shortage. Making the coming water gold rush a sad, but very real certainty for humanity in the very near future.
Entrepreneurs need to dig deep to find the best solutions that will help humanity going forward.
Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.
The Bottled Water Market is set to almost double in value by 2022, from $169.8 billion in 2015 to $319.8 billion.