With all of the attention paid to oil and coal reserves, and renewable energy sources, the availability of fresh, clean water has become a background issue. But think tank CERES sounded an alarm recently that shortages of water will increase costs significantly for industries such as biotech, pharmaceutical and metals and mining, which rely on this natural resource. A CERES reports also cautions that water shortages could lead to global political and economic instability.
To capitalize on this problem, investors and entrepreneurs are developing improved desalination technology. By treating seawater with processes such as reverse osmosis, the looming water shortage could be postponed indefinitely. Several firms operating in this market manufacture components to bring new facilities online, globally. Company names in the industry currently include Energy Recovery and Flowserve. Look for more companies to research and introduce products designed to ease water shortages and as they do, they'll need strong marketing campaigns to educate and persuade potential purchasers.[Sources: Water Scarcity & Climate Change, Ceres, Spring 2009; Hoyt, Jennifer. "Firm Bets Big on Desalination," Wall Street Journal. 5.6.09.]