During a 10-day trip to Africa organized by his buddy Bono's
ONE Campaign, Hollywood heartthrob Matt Damon accompanied a
14-year-old Zambian girl on an hourlong trek to fetch water for
her family. People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive for 2007 thought:
this girl will never attend school and realize her dreams of
becoming a nurse if she has to struggle everyday for something so
So Damon started a nonprofit organization on the credo that
everyone in the world should have access to clean water and a
toilet within the actor's lifetime. Co-founded in 2009 with Gary
White, a leading expert in water and sanitation, Water.org
provides money to partners in developing countries to dig wells,
install toilets and develop various water projects.
"When you see people living without clean water and forced to
scavenge for water and basically use up all of their time just
doing that -- just basically trying to survive to the next day --
you realize they're in such a crippling cycle of poverty they
can't possibly get out of," Damon said in an interview posted on
The organization has worked in hundreds of villages in Africa,
South Asia and Central America, the website says.
Rising Tide Of Global Demand
The Oscar-winning actor has his work cut out for him. With the
world's population expected to grow by nearly a third to as many
as 9 billion over the next four decades, a rising tide of demand
for a finite resource means unquenchable thirst for technologies
that purify, recycle, irrigate, pump and transport water.
The consumer market, 10% of total demand, is just the tip of
the iceberg. All industries from natgas to timber require oceans
of fresh water to produce goods. Agriculture accounts for 70% of
global water use.
The market for salt removal and wastewater recycling
technologies is projected to grow by 11% over the next five years
to total $12 billion by 2025, according to
Global Water Intelligence
Corporate spending on water technology will grow at a compound
annual rate of 6.7% between 2011 and 2020, totaling $6 billion,
GWI forecasts. Spending in China, India and Brazil is seen
growing at a double-digit pace.
"The U.S.-produced water market is set to grow from $5 billion
in 2010 to $10 billion in 2025, at 5% annually,"
GWI stated in a 2011 report
. "Within this sector, the produced-water-treatment equipment
market will grow from $693 million in 2010 to $3 billion, an
annual growth rate of 10%, and the desalination technologies
market, currently worth $59 million, will enjoy the fastest
growth rate, averaging 20% per year."
Some 27% of urban dwellers in developing countries don't have
running water in their homes, according to
Global food demand is projected to jump 70% by 2050, raising
by nearly 20%.
The Four Water ETFs
inspired by Damon's cause might consider four water ETFs that
invest in utilities or companies developing products to conserve
or purify water:
1.First Trust ISE Water ETF (
), returned 27% in 2013 vs. 32% for
SPDR S&P 500
) and 21% for
MSCI EAFE Index (
), tracking developed foreign markets.
2.Guggenheim S&P Global Water (
), up 26% in 2013.
3.PowerShares Global Water Portfolio (
), up 30% in 2013.
4.PowerShares Water Resources (PHO), up 27% in 2013.
PHO, with $987 million in assets, is the most popular among
the four. It charges a 0.62% annual expense ratio. The top 10
holdings, among 29, and their percentage portfolio weightings
1.Waters (WAT) 7.9%
2.Pentair (PNR) 8.5%
3.Flowserve (FLS) 8.5%
4.Roper Industries (ROP) 8.3%
5.Xylem (XYL) 7.8%
6.Lindsay (LNN) 4.2%
7.Mueller Water Products (MWA) 4.2%
8.Valmont Industries (VMI) 4.0%
9.Pall (PLL) 4.0%
10.Tetra Tech (TTEK) 3.8%
Blue Chip Water Stocks
Waters makes instruments to analyze liquids, chemicals and
other materials. S&P Capital IQ projects it will grow sales
by 6% in 2014 to nearly $2 billion after weak sales the past two
Pentair makes devices to transport, store and treat water
globally for the consumer and industrial markets. It doubled in
size after merging with Tyco Flow in 2012. It's aiming to grow
sales at a compound annual growth rate of 4% and earnings at a
rate of least 25% a year from 2012 through 2015.
"Pentair has identified a target market of $60 billion for
U.S. water infrastructure investment needs," S&P Capital IQ
stated in a research note Jan. 4. "The AmericanWaterWorks
Association forecasts that the cost to replace deteriorating
water pipes will more than double to nearly $30 billion annually
by the 2040s. In June 2013, an EPA survey projected total
investments for U.S. drinking water system repairs and
improvements of $384 billion through 2030."
"Pentair notes that 50% of new home construction in the U.S.
is not connected to a municipal water or wastewater network," the
Flowserve produces industrial pumps and equipment for the
chemical and energy industries. It's expected to grow sales by
mid-single digits in 2014.
"Strength in Asia/Pacific, North America and the Middle East
in the oil & gas, power and chemicals markets will lead to an
improved long-cycle business," S&P Capital IQ wrote in a
note. "We see further aftermarket demand, with larger OEM
(original-equipment manufacturers) projects picking up some time
Xylem spun off from ITT Corp. in 2011. It produces equipment
to transport, treat, test, process and irrigate water along with
building services for the consumer, industrial and agricultural
"We look for demand to pick up modestly during 2014, but
industrial treatment products and services for public utilities
should remain soft in the U.S. and southern Europe," S&P
Capital IQ stated in a report. "U.S. commercial and agricultural
markets should recover somewhat, while infrastructure investments
continue to strengthen in China and parts of Europe."
Pall makes filters for the health care, food and beverage, and
other industries. Sales are seen growing 4% in 2014. The company
plans to buy back $250 million of its stock in fiscal year
"Pall noted that its three-year industrial goals include a
better focus on higher-growth end markets such as energy and
in-plant manufacturing, and revenue growth above that of global
GDP, driven by consumables and systems rationalization," S&P
Capital IQ wrote.
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