A good friend of mine who manages her families trust funds told me that she has put some family money in to CFWCX, which is a Calvert Fund.Of course water is a necessary commodity, more necessary than gold...I thought that perhaps this topic if discussed by the group might be enlightening.This is new topic for me, so "I have nothing to add" about global water shortages.Perhaps there are others who do have something to add?I hope so,Sincerely,jan:^)
Perhaps this new development from Lockheed Martin will help:http://www.popularmechanics.com/how-to/blog/lockheeds-better...
This is new topic for me, so "I have nothing to add" about global water shortages.Perhaps there are others who do have something to add?A few facts and a few of my opinions:There is no global water shortage - there is exactly the same amount of water now as there has been for centuries, maybe a little more recently as some of the ice caps thaw.There are local or regional water shortages, particularly in places where there are a lot more people (Israel, Arizona, Australia, etc.) or where some industry is using a lot more water (California, for instance) or in particular geographies like islands, or places where deserts have advanced (northern Africa).Almost all the world's water is accessible to countries with large populations, but it has the major problem of having salt in it. But nowadays, you can make freshwater from seawater for about 6 kWh per ton (a cubic metre), or about $1 a ton, or put another way, about 0.1c per litre. This is still expensive for agricultural or industrial water, but it is next to nothing for drinking water. In other words, any well-organized country should be able to provide drinking water for all its citizens for next to no cost. There will be money to be made providing these services, but profits are not likely to compare well with other commodities like oil, which is worth about 600 times more, volume for volume, i.e. about 60c per litre ($100 per gallon).Regards, DTM
DTM,I spoke to my friend and she said that her concern is related to climate change and drought related agricultural troubles. It also comes to mind that Dr. Michael Burry has put all of his money from his bet against housing into agricultural land with its own water sources.I do not think that the worries are about drinking water per se.Your comment about removing the salt from sea water is something that I have heard before. The glacial melting waters flow downward through rivers to the sea. Instead of having recurring Spring and Summer melts, that occur when some of the glacier melts due to seasonal warmth is a bit different to glaciers that completely melt and are not there to provide extra seasonal river water in future.I do not know enough about the science of ocean systems to imagine how massive sea salt removal systems would affect that important eco-system.So as you sea (pun intended) the back and forth chat on this board makes one think of things a bit more than when one is pondering on one's own.Sincerely,jan:^)
I do not know enough about the science of ocean systems to imagine how massive sea salt removal systems would affect that important eco-system.There should be little or no effect, it is basically what happens naturally anyways, as the sun evaporates water from the sea's surface. In this case, we are taking fresh water from the ocean, using it for a variety of purposes, and then returning it (via runoff, or sewage) to the same place, as slightly less fresh water so to speak! There is no way we could ever remove enough to affect the salinity of the ocean, even if it weren't all flowing back within a few hours or days, but since it is returning, it's basically a non issue. It's like the water flowing from our tap that we are supposed to turn off while we brush our teeth. In most cases, that water will be back in the same body of water it came from, within a few hours, so the only remaining concern is that we waste our resources filtering and treating and pumping municipal water that is squandered, but it really has no impact on the amount of water that is left.It is true that desalination is too expensive to be a practical solution for agriculture, even at $1 a ton. Land with abundant groundwater that is not threatened by someone else using it may certainly be more valuable in parts of the world where rain is scarcer. On the other hand, global climate change has winners and losers, and some places will actually have more rain, like Norway maybe:During the past century, precipitation in Norway has risen by about 20 percent, and that trend is expected to continue."The extent of the flooding and landslides in Norway is expected to increase as a result of more precipitation and more intense rainfall," the government said in the report on long-term challenges."Meanwhile, more precipitation can result in higher production of hydroelectric power, and milder winters will lead to lower fuel costs," it added.http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/08/us-norway-power-hy...This is why the global warming debate is so complex - there is a lot of feedback, some of it positive, some of it negative, as in this case. Here's another interesting example:The one mechanism, called "wet-gets-wetter," predicts that rainfall should increase in regions that already have much rain, with a tendency for dry regions to get dryer. The second mechanism, called the "warmer-gets-wetter," predicts rainfall should increase in regions where sea surface temperature rises above the tropical average warming.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415182510.ht...But I wouldn't likely want to bet against Burry. What does he think of Tesla?Regards, DTM
Cute! I haven't asked Burry about Tesla! However, DTM too much rain on some places will make it impossible to plant crops... too little rain in other places can be irrigated (if) fresh water is nearby, free/cheap and plentiful.But back to the Calvert Water Fund... do you like that better than a gold fund?How can science know when an ocean has become so salty that the marine ecosystem is endangered? Worrying is my usual mode of investment thinking even with Tesla... I worry that Musk is working too hard and may get sick.Geniuses are all different. Burry is one, Warren is one and I think Elon is too.Me a genius?... not so much!ha!jan:^)
How can science know when an ocean has become so salty that the marine ecosystem is endangered? The question doesn't really apply, because any H2O taken from the sea gets back into the sea pretty quickly, through runoff or sewage. But if it did, it would be easy to measure. The world's oceans are all about the same salinity, about 35 parts per thousand by weight, varying by less than 2% because of their huge interconnections and mixing. So if some evil water hog decided to store as much desalinated water as he could outside the seas, for instance, storing the equivalent of all the currently available fresh water in the world, i.e. all the current lakes, rivers, reservoirs and accessible aquifers (these constitute about 0.007% of all the water on earth), then the salinity of the ocean would go up by about .01%, which would probably be a detectable difference but would have no significant effect on life.Worrying is my usual mode of investment thinking even with Tesla... I worry that Musk is working too hard and may get sick.You've certainly picked an investment that has plenty to worry about!Good luck, DTM
The question doesn't really apply, because any H2O taken from the sea gets back into the sea pretty quickly, through runoff or sewage. Sure, but each time the water gets back into the sea, it carries with it fertilizer, pesticides, medications, road salt that may have been mined and not just evaporated from ocean water, and so on. Look at the Gulf of Mexico even before BP ruined it. Huge dead zones due to agricultural runoff.
There is no global water shortage - there is exactly the same amount of water now as there has been for centuries, maybe a little more recently as some of the ice caps thaw. - DTMYes and no. You're right about the total quantity of water globally...it doesn't change all that much.What's missing from your analysis is an examination of how that water is distributed.For example, half the population of the US relies on groundwater for its potable supply. The folks living in the high plains and points south draw water from the Ogallala aquifer...and that aquifer is being pumped dry. These folks reside far from viable alternate water sources. Desalination, for them, is not an economically practicable solution.Potable water is in short (and ever shrinking) supply. I consider this a growing macroeconomic concern. As an investor, I believe this will lead to lucrative opportunities. As a human being, I worry about my brethren/sisteren who'll find themselves thirsty and desperate.
putnid, well said.how does an investor (like you) approach this problem?jan
how does an investor (like you) approach this problem? - janI can't offer an adequate answer. As it happens, environmental engineering was my profession (I'm retired now). The firms that participate in the water supply/desalination arena are far-flung and typically engage in a broad spectrum of activities that can't be categorized as "pure plays" in the water supply niche. I'm still doing research, though, and may find a good candidate or two in the coming years.Not wanting to leave you empty-handed, I'll reference something I posted on Value Hounds recently. I mentioned GDF Suez (GDFZY):http://boards.fool.com/ok-ill-toss-out-a-name-i-kinda-loveha...Water supply services/desalination constitute just a small fraction of the company's portfolio. Even so, I rather like that aspect of the company. That's just one idea...something others may find worth chewing on. I'm keeping my eyes open for other opportunities. And I sure as heck will appreciate the fact that others may have sharper eyes than I...
putnid,Thank you for your response. Since this was your "before retirement" field of endeavor, your input to the board is particularly valuable.I am always amazed at all of the thinkers who contribute to this forum.Thanks so much for chiming in.Sincerely,jan:^)
As a human being, I worry about my brethren/sisteren who'll find themselves thirsty and desperate.That's a little melodramatic, given that water costs less than a penny a litre to make. Yes, there will be some problems getting ultra-cheap water in some places that want it for agriculture or industry. No, people will not be 'thirsty and desperate' unless they can't cough up a penny a day to buy some water, but then, they will also be hungry, cold, wet, etc., so compassionate human beings will have lots to worry about, but water won't be high on the list.dtm
"Southern Great Plains could run out of groundwater in 30 years, study finds"http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2012/0530/Southern-Grea...Tim
Potable water is in short (and ever shrinking) supply. I consider this a growing macroeconomic concern. As an investor, I believe this will lead to lucrative opportunities. As a human being, I worry about my brethren/sisteren who'll find themselves thirsty and desperate. In some parts of the world the situation is so bad already that one country has been fighting serious wars of aggression for over 60 years, conquering territory and killing and expelling neighbors to get their water. I do not suppose that is the only reason they are doing that, but it is surely one of the reasons. And the US gives them $3 to $4 billion a year to do it. And in another part of the world people are already dieing in wholesale numbers because of lack of drinking water and even water for agriculture and sanitation. It is already happening. I wonder when the US will go to war with Canada for water? Or will we just buy them out, if the US dollar does not fall so much compared with the Canadian one that we cannot afford it. We could start by buying Lake Superior, I suppose, and building a pipeline to water the golf courses in Nevada and southern California.
"Southern Great Plains could run out of groundwater in 30 years, study finds" -- from Tim's linkThere was another interesting link on water where Tim's (karensie) link took you:http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0530/How-climate-chang...titled: "How climate change destroyed one of the world's largest civilizations"Change isn't something new.Rob
No, people will not be 'thirsty and desperate' unless they can't cough up a penny a day to buy some water, but then, they will also be hungry, cold, wet, etc., so compassionate human beings will have lots to worry about, but water won't be high on the list.It won't be high on the list? People are dieing of thirst right now. They are killing one another for it. Some people make no money at all. Lots make less than $1/day. They do not have a penny a day for water even if there were someone to sell it to them at that price. They are also hungry, cold, wet, etc. And die from lack of sanitation facilities that they once had, but wealthy so-called civilized countries bombed their water treatment plants, their sewage treatment plants, the electric power plants, basically back to slightly post stone-age living standards. We call this brining them democracy. Bah!
They are also hungry, cold, wet, etc. And die from lack of sanitation facilities that they once had, but wealthy so-called civilized countries bombed their water treatment plants, their sewage treatment plants, the electric power plants, basically back to slightly post stone-age living standards. We call this brining them democracy. Bah!This argument is getting silly, as I should have known it would, and I don't know which countries you are talking about, but I don't really want to go on with a political argument.My point was that there can be no global water shortage, although of course there can be local shortages. We will eventually run out of fossil fuels, probably in 100-300 years, but will never run out things like iron, copper, gold, etc., which we are just moving around from one part of the planet to another. This is particularly true of water. This doesn't mean that everyone has as much as they want, but that is another question.Regards, DTM
This argument is getting silly, as I should have known it would, and I don't know which countries you are talking about, but I don't really want to go on with a political argument.I deliberately left the names of the countries out to reduce the political aspects of this.My point was that there can be no global water shortage, although of course there can be local shortages.While you are correct that the number of molecules of H2O on the planet will probably remain pretty much the same, the amount of usable water on the planet decreases. One reason is that a lot of the water on the planet is fossil, just as petroleum and coal are. And we are mining it (drilling deep wells for agriculture and golf courses in the desert) and are in the process of pumping them dry. Also climate change is increasing the areas of what you call "local." When these "local" areas increase in size, it becomes less and less acceptable to call it local. Consider that the Sahara desert is continually increasing in size. Sure it is local, but that does not make the lot of these people any better. And if you stuck a desalinization plant on the north of Africa and pumped enough water throughout north Africa to solve their water problems, the Mediterranean would no doubt get much saltier. Who would pay for the pipelines? Would it do any good?Maybe we do not care about Africa. Let them all die from war or starvation, or thirst, of wars. But Georgia (the U.S. one) is having severe problems. Idahoe seems to have them too: a friend bought property there and she was not allowed to build on it because there was not enough water in that area to allow building. Sure that is local now, but in 25 years? Texas is having a bad time, The Colorado river does not flow well anymore. The water never even reached Mexico for a while. Is THAT local?
The Bill and Melinda Gates (and Warren Buffett) Foundation is involved with water hygeine and no-flush toilets.http://www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Development...The Howard G. Buffett Foundation is involved with no-till farming and water resources worldwide.http://www.thehowardgbuffettfoundation.org/initiatives/At least one Berkshire company is involved with water resources.About Us | A Berkshire Hathaway CompanyAn Eco Friendly Water System Companyhttp://www.ecowater.com/about-usTim
>How can science know when an ocean has become so salty that the marine ecosystem is endangered? More to the point, you take water out of the ocean leaving the salt, if the water is not going back to the ocean, then ocean levels will FALL. Considering that the politically correct fear with climate change is that ocean levels will rise due to the melting of polar ice and glaciers, then desalinating the ocean to get fresh water would actually be a corrective action! But of course all the water you take out goes back in. And the oceans get ever so slightly saltier every million years not due to anything puny humans can do, but due to the quazillions of gallons of water flowing in rivers back to the sea, picking up a tiny bit of salt and other minerals as they flow over the land. Eventually I suppose the oceans will be as salty as the Great Salt Lake, the Salton Sea, and the Dead Sea, but that might not happen until after the sun explodes. Seriously, nothing humans are doing effects salinity of the oceans overall in any measurable way. R:
Seriously, nothing humans are doing effects salinity of the oceans overall in any measurable way. Do not underestimate what humans can do.We put enough acid into the oceans to destroy coral reefs.We put enough nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico to create large dead zones.Who knows what the radioactive stuff we put into the water is doing.Chisso Chemical Company put enough stuff into the sea around Japan to cause a major disaster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamata_disease
On a more positive note, while..."Drought Worsens, Scorching Much of the Country"http://www.cnbc.com/id/100647130...and..."Southwest Rivers and Budgets are Both Drying Up"http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/02/thirsty-future-southwest......the US and Canada are very diverse ecosystems."The Breadbasket of America: New England?""From Maine and Vermont to New York and Pennsylvania, a growing number of farmers, bakers, brewers, distillers, and food educators are working to create a regional grain network throughout the Northeast." http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/03/the-breadb...Tim
This is a remarkably stupid thread.We will always have drinking water. It is really cheap, and we can outbid any other use.Some types of agriculture will be forced out by high water costs.Life will go on.
We will always have drinking water. It is really cheap, and we can outbid any other use.Some types of agriculture will be forced out by high water costs.Life will go on. That is a typically provincial American point of view.In some parts of the world, water for drinking and cooking is so expensive that people cannot get it and die.In India, right now, people, especially farmers, are committing suicide in great numbers because they cannot even farm enough to provide for their families, due to the lack of water. Some of this is due to climate change, some to water mining and pollution by CocaCola company, and other reasons. When subsistance argriculture is crushed to the point that life does not go on, I think your remarks trivialize an extremely serious problem.
"We will always have drinking water. It is really cheap, and we can outbid any other use."Actually you would have to accurately identify who you are referring to with your use of the word "We". If you are referring to humans who life in wealthy, first world countries. You would be correct. If you were referring to all humans, you are incorrect because there are already humans in undeveloped parts of the world struggling to meet basic drinking needs."This is a remarkably stupid thread."Indeed it is.It is stupid because there are people talking past each other. On one hand some people are looking at it from a high level macro point of view. Mankind will survive and life will go on. This is true because water is so plentiful, drinking water is such a basic necessity of life, and there is enough wealth involved to make sure enough drinkable water is found/created.On the other hand, a group of people are looking at it from a micro level/individual point of view. Even though mankind will survive and life will go on, on an individual level there will quite a few people who will suffer. Most likely the poorest who are least equiped to handle the changes (and sadly enough those are also the least responsible for the cause of those changes).It all just depends upon your point of view.
On the other hand, a group of people are looking at it from a micro level/individual point of view. Even though mankind will survive and life will go on, on an individual level there will quite a few people who will suffer. Most likely the poorest who are least equiped to handle the changes (and sadly enough those are also the least responsible for the cause of those changes).It all just depends upon your point of view.The thread's subject (in the title) is 'global water shortage', so it seems the macro point of view is warranted. We as a planet are not running out of water. There is, and probably always will be, plenty of water on this planet. Stating this does not trivialize the problems of some people who have problems with water, too much of it, too little of it, what they have being polluted, having to pay too much to get it, etc. It is true that when some people correctly say that there is no global water shortage, and others reply that this is not true, because there is a drought in X place, or because farmers in Y place are having troubles, we have the phenomenon of people taling pas each other. Technology now allows the very cheap production of drinking water, even from seawater if necessary, so there is no need for people to die of thirst, though of course some people will anyways, because of regional conflicts, extreme poverty, inadequate infrastructures, corrupt government, wars, etc. This does not necessarily suggest that there is a lot of money to be made from providing water to these people. And farmers in India committing suicide because they can't maintain their existing farming techniques with the available water does not constitute 'dying of thirst'.Regards, DTM
By coincidence, Bloomberg just posted this article regarding water issues in India:http://tinyurl.com/btqjae2India, the world’s second-most populous nation, is doubling spending on water management to a record as conglomerates from the Tatas to Adani face shortages that the United Nations calls an impending crisis.The federal and state governments have set aside 1.1 trillion rupees ($20 billion) for sewage treatment, irrigation and recycling for the five-year period ending March 2017, G. Mohan Kumar, special secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources, said in an interview. The nation with 1.2 billion people, which treats only 20 percent of its sewage, is pouring more money as inadequate clean water is threatening to stunt growth in industrial and farm output.India has 18 percent of the world’s population and four percent of the globe’s water resources, India’s demand for clean water by 2030 may exceed supply by 50 percent while pollution is making what’s available unfit for human consumption, industrial or farm use, according to McKinsey & Co. forecasts and a government report.Jim Rogers, the investor who foresaw the start of a commodity rally in 1999, said he is “extremely optimistic” about investing in water amid scarce supply in countries from India to the U.S.“If you can find ways to invest in water, you will be extremely rich because we do have a serious water problem in many parts of the world like India, China, the southwestern part of the U.S., and west of the Red Sea,” Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, told reporters in Singapore on April 15.The S&P Global Water Index of 50 companies has surged 162 percent since Nov. 30, 2001, when Bloomberg began compiling the measure. In comparison, the S&P Global Oil Index has risen 135 percent in the same period and the S&P/TSX Global Gold Sector Index (SPTSGD) has climbed 37 percent.
putnid and everyone,Now this thread is looking at water as an investment... like my friend's proposition about investing in "water" through a Calvert fund.Thinking about a commodity that is a necessity and why that necessity has become an investment opportunity to some folks, helps us all think about water together.How does a fund or an individual like Jim Rogers "hold" water?Please talk about water as an investment... how it becomes an investment and how that whole process works. One can own commodities by possessing them.. in the simplest way one can have a bar of gold under a floor board, a tank of oil in a shed, and ownership can become not one of possession but one of securitization. I can envision a gold bar or gold coins hidden under a floor board. It is possible to have some barrels of oil in a barn or a shed. But having lived on a farm where the well ran dry from time to time and we had to buy water, the simplest form of possessing water isn't from the physical water but from owning the water rights to a river/delta that is poring into something like the Great Lakes as I have read Nestle does, even though (IIRC) the water of The Great Lakes is not supposed to be sold to industry.Anyway, what are the nuts and bolts of owning or investing in water, aside from owning a glacier?Anyone know?Sincerely,jan:^)
Some years ago, some governments in (IIRC) central or south America sold public water supply companies to private owners. To make money by selling a public good to private investors. The then private investors then greatly raised the price of water. The people who needed the water for drinking and sanitation pretty much revolted, and death squads were needed to subdue the people. It got pretty ugly. I do not remember what happened next. Perhaps the private investors gave it up as a bad investment. There is information about this on the Internet. Here is one link:https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/215/4...
Today is Earth Day."Google celebrates Earth Day 2013 with interactive doodle"http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/new...I am reminded that upstate NY is a hotbed of fracking opposition by those believing that it leads to grounwater contamination. "New York State Assembly Passes Fracking Moratorium In Largely Symbolic Measure"http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/new-york-state-asse...Extraction of oil from oil sands uses a lot of water and is one reason for opposition to the Keystone pipeline and Berkshire's plan to haul oil on BNSF trains.http://www.foe.org/projects/climate-and-energy/tar-sands"Buffett's Railroad Goes All In On Shale Oil"http://www.wealthwire.com/news/energy/4386Tim
In some parts of the world, water for drinking and cooking is so expensive that people cannot get it and die.I think what you mean is that there are some parts of the world where some people have so little money that they cannot get water for drinking and cooking and they die. Worrying about water shortage because people can't afford water makes as much sense as opening a BYD (electric car) dealership in places where people can't afford the gasoline for their cars. When subsistance argriculture is crushed to the point that life does not go on, I think your remarks trivialize an extremely serious problem. The bigger problem would be thinking the solution is water when it is money. Or rather the distribution of water. R:
In some parts of the world, water for drinking and cooking is so expensive that people cannot get it and die.I think what you mean is that there are some parts of the world where some people have so little money that they cannot get water for drinking and cooking and they die.Worrying about water shortage because people can't afford water makes as much sense as opening a BYD (electric car) dealership in places where people can't afford the gasoline for their cars.What is the matter with you?Where are these people supposed to walk to (no money for cars, bus tickets, etc.) to get their water? What if the people with the water will not let them in? Do you think, for example, that Israel will let the Palestinians in even for a drink of water? What if they are too weak from thirst and starvation to walk that far, even if they know where that is?http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175690/tomgram%3A_michael_kl...
I think what you mean is that there are some parts of the world where some people have so little money that they cannot get water for drinking and cooking and they die.==========What is the matter with you?Where are these people supposed to walk to (no money for cars, bus tickets, etc.) to get their water? JD,You are not really listening. Ralph is not saying there is no problem, he is saying the problem is political or economic, not technical. If someone is prevented from getting access to water because of illness, or because they have no transportation, or because a soldier will not let them cross a boundary, then it is senseless to attribute the problem to a 'global shortage of water'. That would be a distraction from the main issue, which is that there is an illness, or a transportation problem, or a war, or whatever, that is causing the thirst.Your argument that a shortage of water is the problem is like saying there is a world shortage of oxygen, and the proof is that some poor guy is being choked to death and is dying of anoxia. It will not help that guy for you to get busy on seeing how you could get a little more oxygen in the atmosphere, or hypothesizing about why there is less than there used to be.Regards, DTM
Ralph is not saying there is no problem, he is saying the problem is political or economic, not technical.OK. I will accept that that is what he is saying. And I apologize for interpreting what he said in a different way and being too harsh.So if your explanation of what he is saying is correct, I disagree with his position, but no longer condemn him for being heartless.It is my view, however, that the problem is almost surely all three: political, economic, and technical. And that just makes it more difficult to solve, not less, and meanwhile, while wating for the politicians, and the moneyed people who control them, do whatever they do, selling water for over $1/gallon that used to be free or $0.01/1000 gallons, and letting poor Africans and middle-Easterners die of thirst, what is to be done?An economist who worked at the University of Chicago, not in the economics department with Milton Friedman, but in the Law department did not find this incongruous with his view of economics because he felt the two fields were extremely close together and dealt with similar issues.This paper of his may be illustrative of this: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&a...
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