Clean Water: Far More Precious A Commodity Than Oil

“Water is the most basic and necessary commodity,” according to Summit Global Management, “and it is the only element in the world that has no substitute at any price. One can substitute wheat for oats, coal for natural gas, corn oil for soybean oil and hydro-electricity for fossil-fuel generated power, but…water has no substitute regardless of price, the only element in the world of which this is true: This most fundaments of facts is another key to the inexorable and intractable demand for water that will not abate with time.”

Without question, therefore, clean water is the earth’s most precious resource. But this essential truth has not prevented decades of water mismanagement.

Throughout the world, clean water is underappreciated and woefully abused…except by the billions of people who struggle to find it each day…or die trying. Only 20% of the world’s population currently enjoys the benefits of running water. The other 80% have to find it whenever and wherever they can. In some parts of the world, people spend as much as six hours a day fetching water.

For most of the world, clean water is far more precious a commodity than oil.

Chris Mayer

Chris Mayer is a veteran of the banking industry, specifically in the area of corporate lending. A financial writer since 1998, Mr. Mayer's essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications, from the Daily Article series to here in Markets and Money. He is the editor of Mayer's Special Situations and Capital and Crisis - formerly the Fleet Street Letter.

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