Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's Raining!

In Israel, rain is a national preoccupation - more important than any sports event or political election. Will it rain this winter? How much? How soon? Where?

We can't control the rain, but we can control the water once it falls. According to latest news reports, Israel has the highest rate of water reclamation in the word, with more than 70 percent of water being re-used for agriculture and non-drinking purposes.

From Globes Magazine, by Laura Goldman

In Israel, there are several venture funds concentrating on water technology like Altshuler Shaham's "Green Fund", Triple 7 (Tal Treatment Technology), Gaon Agro, and Kinrot. Dan Moses from Debby Communications mentioned, “There is a water technology conference in Tel Aviv.

More than 180 companies will be participating. This is an incredible achievement for a country with 7 million citizens.” Mr. Oren predicts, “In the future, exports from Israel of water technology will top those of hi tech.” Some obvious international investments are the stocks of water utility Vivendi, Nestle, the owner of the number-one bottled-water company worldwide, and Coca Cola.

UBS is following a different approach by investing in several stocks in the water field including American States Water Company, a supplier of water services to the military; water utility Aqua America; filtrations company Pall; and Thermo Electron. The investment in Thermo Electron caught the eye of this writer.

The Environmental Protection Agency has found that the installation of water meters like the type produced by Thermo Electron can produce a savings of up to 15%. Soon, they will be as de rigueur as air conditioning in a building. Efficiency will be to the year 2020 like extravagance was to the 1980s. UBS has created the Water Strategy Certificate to give investors easy access to innovative companies in the water field.

It is an actively managed basket of 25 international stocks. To be selected for the Water Strategy Certificate, the company must have one third of their sales in the water field. A UBS publication has listed these companies as possibilities for inclusion in the basket, but there is no guarantee: Canadian Hydro, a developer of low impact energy projects including those with water; Manila Water, California Water Service Company, the largest water utility in the Western United States; Instuiform Technologies whose products rehabilitate pipes; the operator of water treatment plants BioTeQ, and water consultant Tetra Tech.

Investing in the water field will not be like panning for gold. There will not be instant profits. It is taking a long time for people to understand that global warming is not an urban legend. It will take even longer for them to believe that water, the neglected stepsister of global warming, is an even more dire threat.

Booky Oren summed it up best, “We need to make peace with our neighbors because of water, instead of fighting wars over water.”

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