What is more valuable, water or gold?

Gold water

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Something that many might take for granted is becoming highly coveted: water.

In fact, water has become more precious than gold.

Over the past 10 years the S&P 500 Global Water index has outperformed the bellwether gold and energy indices.

In fact, water outperformed the stock market in the same period.

While the planet Earth is primarily covered in water, only 2.5% of it is fresh, and only a portion of that is drinkable. In fact, many global agencies now say human kind is in a water crisis.

The World Economic Forum names it as the number three global risk of 2014.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that, “over 780 million people today do not have access to improved sources of drinking water, especially in Africa.”

The corporate world has weighed in as well. The chairman of Nestle, the world’s largest food company, says that water is, “a human right.” Of course, Nestle also sells 63 brands of water around the planet.

Wall Street has taken notice of companies tackling the issue of supplying clean water and many are fast becoming the darlings of the investing world.

H20 is a $600 billion business, but it will grow to a $1 trillion by over the next six years according to a research report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch which cites dozens of companies that it thinks should benefit from water related themes and have global exposure to the water business.

The report breaks the global water market into four distinct categories. For water treatment the list includes firms like Stericycle. For water management, companies like Monsanto fit the bill. When it comes to water infrastructure & supply the list includes companies like American Water Works. The final group contains water-friendly energy companies that provide wind, solar and geothermal opportunities like NRG Energy.

But besides the problem of generating enough clean water, the water crisis also raises some scary potential scenarios.

One is the idea that water will cause global conflicts in the future. Since water, food, and agriculture are so closely tied together, the idea of “water wars” erupting in Africa, the Middle East and Asia is seen as a real possibility by the Pacific Institute, a non-profit research group that studies resources worldwide, as nations rush to secure fresh water for their populations.

And don’t think that it’s only a third world problem. The U.S. Department of State has already mentioned water risk as a threat to national security.

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3 comments

  • Vasu Murti

    Vegan author John Robbins provides these points and facts in his Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America (1987):

    Half the water consumed in the U.S. irrigates land growing feed and fodder for livestock. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, but 2,500 gallons to produce a pound of meat. If these costs weren’t subsidized by the American taxpayers, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound!

    Livestock producers are California’s biggest consumers of water. Every tax dollar the state doles out to livestock producers costs taxpayers over seven dollars in lost wages, higher living costs and reduced business income. Seventeen western states have enough water supplies to support economies and populations twice as large as the present.

    U.S. livestock produce twenty times as much excrement as the entire human population, creating sewage which is ten to several hundred times as concentrated as raw domestic sewage. Meat producers contribute to half the water pollution in the United States.

    ****

    Nearly 75% of the grain grown and 50% of the water consumed in the U.S. are used by the meat industry. (Audubon Society)

    It takes nearly one gallon of fossil fuel and 5,200 gallons of water to produce just one pound of conventionally fed beef. (Mother Jones)

    ****

    In their 2007 book, Please Don’t Eat the Animals, mother and daughter Jennifer Horsman and Jaime Flowers write:

    “Half of all fresh water worldwide is used for thirsty livestock. Producing eight ounces of beef requires an unimaginable 25,000 liters of water, or the water necessary for one pound of steak equals the water consumption of the average household for a year.

    “The Worldwatch Institute estimates one pound of steak from a steer raised in a feedlot costs: five pounds of grain, a whopping 2,500 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, and about 34 pounds of topsoil.

    “Thirty-three percent of our nation’s raw materials and fossil fuels go into livestock destined for slaughter. In a vegan economy, only two percent of our resources will go to the production of food.”

    ****

    As California endures a severe drought, a flyer by Santa Clara County Activists for Animals points out:

    …It takes 698.5 gallons of water to make a single cheeseburger, with 616 gallons going toward the meat, and 56 gallons for the cheese slice.

    “Save Water – Go Veg!”

    ****

    According to the editors of World Watch, July/August 2004:

    “The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future — deforestization, topsoil erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease.”

  • manalishi

    Vasu? Are you still quoting progressive liberals? Stick to realities, Quote this,,”carnivores eat herbivores” the take your place in the food chain. “Let the animals drink the rainwater before it erodes the soil” Biology/geology 101. Class dismissed without indoctrination ceremonies.

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