Water Crisis: An Investment Opportunity

water-tap.jpgWater shortages are on the rise, from Mexico to the Andes, northern China to southern India, and Spain to Pakistan. Drought, soaring populations and population densities, changing diets, and increasing living standards are all factors. Is this an issue that technology can fix?
Judging by investors’ responses, technology can at least mitigate the problem. FourWinds will invest up to $4.7 billion in water treatment and desalinization and companies that make meters, pumps, and pipes.

BlueWater Bio is a player in the wastewater and sludge treatment arena. Their claim to fame is a treatment technology called Hybrid Bacillus Activated Sludge (HYBACS). It uses proprietary bacteria that eats waste, saving on chemicals. The high quality treatment effluent has reuse potential for commercial or industrial applications, but I wouldn’t recommend drinking it.
Monsanto’s top 20 experts have been examining how climate science will affect the company, with drought being the leading problem to solve. New drought-resistant crops are being created.
“The most advanced of these is now a drought-tolerant corn product … commercializable within several years,” said Monsanto’s head of technology strategy and development David Fischhoff . “We expect this to be the first generation of an ongoing stream.”
Monsanto is currently trading at nearly 39 times its forecasted earnings for the year to August, 2008. Investors seem confident that such products will be increasingly needed and used, especially with the anticipated effects of climate change. Agriculture is responsible for a staggering 70% of water use, so such crops could be very valuable during times of water shortages.
Although technology can come to the rescue and potentially take the edge off of the water crisis, there are some obstacles that will be hard to overcome.
Water consumption spikes as the “standard of living” increases. Americans use twice the water of their European counterparts. Many water-efficient fixtures are being developed, from faucets to simple gray water systems that reduce water consumption. Agriculture uses a lot of water. One kg of beef requires 1600 liters of water, which can cause problems as the apetite for meat increases around the globe.
Economic inequality, not surprisingly, plays a role in who will have the best access to water and associated technologies. Rural areas in developing countries may be the hardest hit.
“The technologies exist,” said Merrill Lynch analyst Robert Miller-Bakewell. “You and I and the World Bank and everyone else can identify the need. The big problem all along is about who’s going to pay for it all.”
As climate change alters the weather, disrupting condensation patterns and droughts are in the forecast. As glaciers melt, these important fresh water reserves will be lost. A multi-faceted approach is ultimately the required response.
Related Posts on Water Efficiency:
In-house Gray Water Systems: Simple solutions for water management
New faucet design Saves Energy While Saving Water

Sarah Lozanova is a green copywriter and communications professional specializing in renewable energy and clean technology. She is a consultant for Sustainable Solutions Group and a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Home Power, Earth911, and Green Builder. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine.

5 responses

  1. I have been the water treatment arena for several years working to bring electrolytic water treatment technolologys to the market. I have one patent on a electrolytic cell that will run continuosly without fouling of the electrodes by use of mechanical scraper blades which continuosly clean the electrodes while in operation. The company that now own this patent is in the process of starting up and has a commercial unit finished and tested.
    I am currently working on a new technology involving a electrolytic cell which will revolotionalize the industry. I am in the patenting process and looking for a partner to fund the startup of the company for a sizable ownership. I am only looking for someone who understands the technology, the potentials of it and can move quickly. Not interested in VC’s or sheisters. This technology is industry changing and I will be glad to prove that to the right individual. Contact me at bpnorr@hotmail for discussions. E. Norris

  2. Gerhard Laschober
    Austria, Europe
    e-mail: gml@aon.at
    Commentary on a global water crises
    the innovative answer could be a production of drinking water through water condensation from the vast and inexhaustible sources of water present in the aerial humidity in surrounding air. The free cooling medium for chilling the condensation surfaces on the water cooling equipment is the free atmospheric chill originating in the cool air layers (3000-4000 meters above sea level) which, as per the invention, will be transported without using artificial energy to the water condensation equipment (on the earth’s surface).
    The mechanism of the “Balloon shuttle” function
    The transportation medium is the mantle of the balloon, further on balloon only, which will fill up with free hot utility waste gases produced by industrial plants for waste disposal, facilities for waste disposal, power stations, tourist facilities, agrarian farms, facilities for power consumption etc. These warm utility waste gases act in the balloon as per the buoyancy physical laws and enable a fast rise of the balloon, from the place of filling to the place of cool air offtake (3000 – 4000 meters above sea level). The balloon will remain connected to the filling and offtake places by a cable which will be kept in its variable length by a cable reel.
    Fixating cables in place will prevent further rise of the balloon by opening an escape opening in the balloon to let the warm gases out. Due to now missing buoyancy power of the warm gases and countermovement of the cables being reeled in, in addition to the mass of the balloon, the warm-air balloon will now go down. During the first short phase of the process, the surrounding cold air is flowing inside to the balloon and through the balloon. In the second phase, after closing the outlet opening, the cold air continues to flow into the balloon which will, after a complete fill of air and slight inner excessive pressure in the balloon, force the cold air out once again. During the third phase, the balloon is quickly moved to a filling and emptying equipment (located on the Earth surface) where the chilled air is emptied into the condensation equipment to cool off the condensation surfaces.
    Filling the balloon with warm utility waste gases, the balloon ascent, draining the waste gases out, cool atmospheric air filling, descent of the balloon down to the water production equipment and draining of the cold air from the balloon into the equipment are constant and cyclical processes.
    The results of my experiments and calculations are showing that to cool of the condensation surfaces on the water condensation equipment, there will be about 24 million cubic meters of cold atmospheric air from +3ºC to 5ºC at disposal and that will fully satisfy the needs to produce a volume of several hundreds thousand liters of drinking water (always in relation to the air temperature and humidity).
    Mechanism of the “Perpetuum mobile” function
    The cooling medium – atmospheric coldness – is drained through textile pipes manufactured with light-weight materials. The cold air is carried from far air layers towards the water condensation equipment (located on the Earth surface).
    The textile piping which is floating freely upright is held up by a giant warm-air balloon which is using warm air as a carrier medium from the continuously incoming warm air
    from the water condensation equipment and is supplied by the textile piping.
    The free atmospheric coldness, free aerial humidity, free incoming and outgoing transportation of the balloon as well as improving our living environment, are the key advantages of this new invention which is protected by patent rights.
    There are also possibilities to obtain recycling rights and utilization rights.

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