Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink
Groundwater, which comes from deeply buried aquifers, supplies the bulk of freshwater in many regions, including Syria, Yemen and drought-plagued California. It is essential for agricultural production, especially in arid regions with little rainwater. When wells run dry, farmers are forced to fallow fields, and some people get hungry, thirsty and often very angry.
In 2009, U.S. Embassy officers visited Nestle’s headquarters in Switzerland, where company executives, who run the world’s largest food company and are dependent on freshwater to grow ingredients, provided a grim outlook of the coming years. An embassy official cabled Washington with the subject line, “Tour D’Horizon with Nestle: Forget the Global Financial Crisis, the World Is Running Out of Fresh Water.”
“Nestle thinks one-third of the world’s population will be affected by fresh water scarcity by 2025, with the situation only becoming more dire thereafter and potentially catastrophic by 2050,” according to a March 24, 2009, cable. “Problems will be severest in the Middle East, northern India, northern China, and the western United States.”
I am in the process of writing a whole series of articles on my investing themes for next 10-20 years. Water scarcity is one of the themes I will addressing. Issues like this are problems for most people and life and death for others. They are also opportunities to fix a problem and are actionable. Stay tuned.