On the nestle site there are some astounding facts on the water requirements for the food and food processing industry. That company is on top of the important issues, quite ahead of the rest it would seem. I think the cost to keep up with agriculture water needs is not fully recognized. All ties in with population growth and demand for food and supported by UN projections. If "everyone" ie: a number of countries and sectors all decide to repair and build new systems at the same time it will spike the demand in the sector, well above its normal growth. I still think this sector is coiled up for a spike for many of its products and services.
From the world new web site an article from the N.Z. Herald. co.nz by steve conor oct 22: "Race to feed extra billions" says world food production need to be increased by between 50% to 100% by 2050 in order to avoid wide spread famine. 3 billion more people are expected by 2050 it says major challenges are in water for irrigation, and soil degradation. The link between water and food is major so companies to desalinization and irrigation equipment are likely major growth areas, of course the infrastructure to treat and supply water and treat waste water for an additional 3 billion are significant as well. So thats the trend.
A looming problem just starting to get recognized. Now from the bbc news: Aug18, "water crisis to hit Asian food" commenting on a report from the UN Food and agriculture organization and The international water management institute: "Scientists have warned Asian countries that they face chronic food shortages and likely unrest if they do not impose water management." "They say countries in south and east Asia must spend billions of dollars to improve antiquated crop irrigation to cope with rapid population increases. I gather it all doesnt have to get done immediately but over the comming years. I dont know how fast the market might respond to this, but i think this is an important prediction.
The water ETF's will gradually gain value as water utilization becomes a more global issue. A number of ETF's deal with various aspects of water utility, development, distribution. I only own PHO but will start diversifying in this industry. In brief: PHO - primarily water technology; CGW - water infrestructure; FIW - top 36 water stocks with realignment q 6 months; PIO deals with international water stocks. The shortage of water is starting to effect ag, some areas of the world, to conserve water are limiting rice production to a single crop. Good luck to all. (source Financial Times).
From the bbc news aug13:"India water use unsustainable", goes on to say: "Parts of india are on track for severe water shortages, according to Nasa's gravity satellites." shows water table falling 1.6" per year, due to farming use. I dont know how they will deal with this, but it presents a challenge to agriculture and other water uses.