Aaron Katsman 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As Succot takes center stage, we turn our focus to water. Those of us who come
from Western nations tend to take water for granted. You turn on the faucet and
voila! – you have a steady stream of water. The Mishna in Tractate Rosh Hashana
says the world is judged four times during the year: One of those times is on
Succot, when we are judged for water.
Live a few years in Israel and you
can appreciate that whatever water we receive is a gift from Above. With the
Kinneret at alarmingly low levels, there are regular calls for conservation as
well as increases in water-usage taxes. Without a doubt, living in Israel has
helped us gain an intimate understanding of the complexity of water
As abundant as it appears to be, only about 20
percent of the global population has access to running
Additionally, only one-third of the world’s population has access
to clean water. There are estimates that in 40 years, more than four billion
people – half the world’s population – are expected to live in areas that are
chronically short of water.
Moreover, economic development has placed
greater pressure than ever on the supply of fresh water. In 1900, the global
annual water use per capita was 350 cubic meters; in 2000, that number had grown
to 642 cubic meters. In the United States alone, the demand for water has
tripled over the past 30 years, while the population has grown by just
50%.CHINA, AFRICA, US
The need to increase access to clean water around
the world has led some to call water the “crude oil” of the 21st century. As the
world becomes more and more developed, countries will have a moral obligation to
provide this basic necessity to their citizens.
Everyone likes to point
to the strong economic growth of China and India – and with good reason. Well,
with little in the way of a sophisticated water delivery system, both countries
are pumping hundreds of billions of dollars in improvements to their water
infrastructure. Many sub-Saharan countries that are beginning to show signs of
strong economic growth will be forced to begin providing basic
In all of these examples, we have countries with huge
populations that are in their infancy when it comes to providing for the basic
needs of their citizens.
They have been steeped in poverty for decades
and only now are they emerging.
As such, they need to start from scratch,
which means among other things, access to water.
In the US, much of the
water infrastructure is more than 100 years old, has long exceeded its useful
life and is in a state of utter disrepair.
The network of drinking-water
pipes extends more than 700,000 miles – more than four times the length of the
National Highway System. In short, a lot of investment needs to be made and work
to be done.
Investments are now being made in new and more efficient
water carriers, irrigation methods, desalination plants and water treatment
facilities (among other solutions) to tackle this emerging global problem. Isn’t
it ironic that Israel is a world leader in water infrastructure technology to
help solve these issues, yet we can’t seem to solve our own water shortage! NOW
IS THE TIME
For investors, a problem of such magnitude has the potential to
produce profits. In light of the above, improving the water infrastructure is
set to be a popular investment theme for many years to come.
judge us favorably this year, and may the rains we receive this season be rains
Chag Sameach.firstname.lastname@example.org Aaron
Katsman is a licensed financial adviser in Israel and the United States who
helps people open investment accounts in the US.