best water company stocks
Investing in water stocks is about to become one of the hottest trends in 2012.
That's because the days of easy access to cheap commodities are drawing rapidly to a close. In the coming years, the prices of commodities are going to skyrocket - thanks to exponential growth.
Exponential growth in the Earth's population - over seven billion people and counting - means that all of the planet's finite resources are going to have to stretch farther to feed and fuel even more people. Everything from oil and gas to corn, wheat, potash, rare earth metals, timber - everything - is going to be harder to come by, and more expensive to procure.
We're also seeing similar growth in the population of the world's middle class, which means a rise in demand for everything a middle class existence entails, including meat (which requires more feed and processing - which means oil - to bring to the table), smartphones, cars, flat screen televisions, and everything else that we in the West enjoy, and even take for granted.
Including clean water.
Population Growth Creates a New "Water Market"In places like China, India, and Latin America, where the burgeoning middle class is set to explode in the coming years, water use is already on the rise.
In the United States each person uses around 150 gallons of water per day, compared with around 20 gallons per day in emerging economies.
But global water usage is surging. What we take for granted in the West is in many cases just becoming the standard in many emerging markets around the world.
In fact, China and India already have the two largest water footprints (a broad measurement that aims to quantify global water use and consumption) of any country on the planet. And they're about to get even bigger as their consumption of commodities - water included - skyrockets.
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7 Dividend-Paying Water Company Stocks Bound to Make a Splash
When it comes to commodities, attention typically focuses on gold and oil. But there's only one commodity that humans truly cannot live without - water.
Water covers nearly three-fourths of the Earth's surface, but 97.5% of that is undrinkable seawater, and 70% of what remains is frozen in glaciers.
Climate change, pollution and mismanagement of water resources have already created problems supplying the world's 7 billion people with fresh drinking water. None of those problems are going away, and all are likely to get worse - the earth's population, for example, is expected to reach 9 billion by 2025.
At least 80 countries already are suffering from water shortages, and the United Nations (UN) estimates that 67% of the world population will be "water-stressed" by 2025.
Even parts of the United States have increasingly suffered from droughts and water shortages, particularly in the West and sections of the South, like Texas.
"Water isn't just the oil of the 21st century; water is the raw material for life, for everything," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald. "I truly believe, as we see this all play out, that water could end up being even pricier than oil - on a per-liter basis."
Just as companies like ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) have profited from a high-demand commodity like oil, so too will many of today's water companies profit as fresh water becomes increasingly scarce.
Still, no one is quite sure when water company stocks will start to take off, so the smartest way to play this industry is to look for companies that pay you to wait by offering up a healthy dividend.
Fortunately, since many companies in the water business are utilities, quite a few fit this definition.
Here are seven water company stocks that are in a position to profit from the "blue gold" and that will put cash in your pocket in the meantime:
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