2010 was the year of the commodity. Gold prices soared, copper hit record highs, oil again marched towards $100 a barrel, and many agricultural products doubled in value.
Yet hardly a word was spoken about the world's most precious commodity - water.
Indeed, few people in the developed world think of water as a commodity. After all, they can usually get all they want out of the tap in their kitchen or bathroom. And even fewer think about water's price - unless, of course, they're buying a bottle at their local convenience store, where it typically cost twice as much as gasoline.
But for the rest of the world - and even some areas in the United States and other developed nations - water represents a significant problem because of supply shortages, poor quality, or inadequate distribution and disposal systems. And, thanks to a mushrooming global population, the water problem is rapidly approaching crisis proportions.