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The Most Liquid and Precious Stocks (Part 1)

8 October 2007 - Features - Editor

Water has always been a limiting issue in the arid regions of the world. No human progress is possible without adequate quantities, and most industrial development injects massive new demands in to existing ecological systems. However, it is agriculture which is most exacting on water availability, and accounts for up to 80% of all consumption.

Water scarcity affects large portions of the globe, and there are increasing pressures to conserve supplies, and to treat if not completely recycle waste effluent. The high social and industrial imperatives to generate sustainable water supply and management systems, implies that this entire area is a growing and profitable opportunity for fresh investments. Stocks of all companies involved in any phase of water-related enterprises have special relevance in the unfolding scenario.

The demand for water has both quality and ecology drivers in urban settings. This spurs great technological challenges, which are suitable for only the best-run companies. Traditionally, utilities have been governmental responsibilities, but most countries have moved water supplies to cities in to the private investment domain. Overall, water supplies, and related products and services have become interesting possibilities for investors on the look out for the best stocks.

Desalination Stocks

Though the technical feasibility of desalination has been established, the economics do not compete as yet with alternative ways of sourcing fresh water. There are also some ecological and social concerns centered on building large treatment plants along coasts. This is why commercial desalination plants are currently limited to very arid areas such as the Middle East, and to places such as California and Singapore, where water is highly valued by local communities.

Widening gaps between demand and supply of fresh water will make desalination an attractive economic proposition. There is also much work in progress to make the process more efficient, and to respond to public concerns about other drawback of desalination. All companies which are able to forge leads in these areas deserve investment support from discerning pickers of the best stocks of tomorrow.

Distilling sea water using multistage flash units and reverse osmosis are the 2 technologies available for desalination. Both are highly energy intensive, so cost-effective power generation can go a long way in making desalination affordable. Solar radiation to power desalination seems to be especially appropriate for arid areas near the tropics.

The Most Liquid and Precious Stocks (Part 2)

 


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