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The global water industry is already a $500 billion a year business – and it's headed to $20 trillion by 2025.
That's 3,900% growth in 12 years, headed for an amount bigger than the $17 trillion U.S. economy.
The reason for this explosive growth?
According to the United Nations, 783 million people today do not have access to water, and a shocking 2.5 billion people lack basic sanitation. That's why the world is already spending billions of dollars on water.
Now imagine what happens when you add 2 billion more people by 2025. By then, the World Water Organization estimates, water demand will exceed supply by 56%.
The water industry has only just started to meet these needs, which makes investing in water stocks one of top profit opportunities of the 21st century.
Why Water Is So Precious
Unlike spending for other industries, there's no question governments will pay for their water needs. Society can't survive without water – and that doesn't mean just drinking and bathing.
Industrial production is extremely dependent on water.
For example, fracking of the vast U.S. shale oil and gas reserves would be impossible without large amounts of water. A single fracking well requires about 5 million gallons of water, and more than 82,000 such wells have been drilled since 2005.
Then there's agriculture, which uses about 70% of the fresh water we consume. A lack of water can quickly drive up food prices. During the U.S. drought of 2012, global food prices surged by 6% in a single month, with some items like corn (up 23%) and sugar (up 12%) going much higher.
And even though water seems plentiful – it covers more than three-fourths of the planet – it's not. About 97.5% of that is undrinkable seawater, and 70% of what remains is frozen in glaciers.
As the water crisis grows, governments will have no choice but to pay up to repair infrastructure, buy wastewater treatment facilities, and invest in such things as desalination to maintain adequate supplies.
"Over the next 25 years it's expected that spending on water will be more than seaports, railroads, roads, and power combined," Matt Sheldon, the co-portfolio manager of the Calvert Global Water Fund (MUTF: CFWAX) said recently. "This is an opportunity for many different types of companies, from the utilities proving fresh water to the pump companies to the piping companies."
And while investing in water stocks offers a lot of good opportunities, we've found a proven winner that's already up more than 50% on the year…