Understanding Water as the Oil of the 21st Century

The CleanTech Alliance Twitter Handle (@wacleantech) was flooded with #cleantechbacon at the April Breakfast Series event featuring Sarbjit Nahal, Head of Thematic Investment and ESG Strategy at Bank of America (BofA) Merrill Lynch. Mr. Nahal flew in from London to present Water: Oil of the 21st Century.

"Just shocking: 2.4% of wateris reclaimed globally. Props to Las Vegas for reclaiming 100% #cleantechbacon @lvvwd"

@wickse

"So when do we start miningother solar systems for water?#cleantechbacon"

@Chris_Bast

Mr. Nahal explored how topics like the water scarcity, extreme weather and the obesity epidemic affect the global market. According to the presentation, water is being extracted at an unsustainable rate with 60 percent of all water consumption being inefficient. By 2030, global water demand will overshoot supply by 40 percent. Compounding the issue, only 2.41 percent of water is being recycled.

The presentation included several other startling figures, including:

  • 90 percent of energy generation is extremely water intensive. Solar and wind energy technologies are some of the least water intensive, creating yet another compelling argument for renewable energy technologies.
  • 31 percent of the developed world is considered water deficient. More than 30 countries on three continents are at risk – including the U.S. There is not enough water, and it’s in all the wrong places.
  • 50 percent of areas with active fracking are considered water distressed.
  • 80 percent of water usage in California surrounds watering the lawn. Analysts anticipate water scarcity creating major aesthetic changes in residential communities as water availability declines and water costs increase.
  • Agriculture remains a top area of water consumption. Industry is stepping up to the plate with the mantra of “more crop per drop.” Expect to see more drought-resistant seeds.

Why are investment brokers interested in water scarcity? Simply put, trillions of dollars in investments are needed to combat the issue. The market is slow growth and long-term, but there is real performance in water sustainability technologies.

Despite its seemingly prevalent abundance, the value of usable water is not lost on companies in the Pacific Northwest. A Q&A session moderated by Bellamy Pailthorp, environmental reporter for KPLU News, followed Mr. Nahal’s presentation. James Thompson of HaloSource, Matt Rose of Kirkland Analytics and TJ Mothersbaugh of Water Tectonics shared insights from Washington State water technology companies.

  

The current #cleantechbacon series wraps up next month with a spotlight on the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Register now for early-bird pricing, and be sure to follow @wacleantech on Twitter to follow the conversation 

 

Why are investment brokers interested in water scarcity? Simply put, trillions of dollars in investments are needed to combat the issue. The market is slow growth and long-term, but there is real performance in water sustainability technologies.

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