Investment opportunities in a water-constrained world

California is in its fourth year of a record-breaking drought that is wreaking havoc on California residents and impacting the rest of the country.  With no end in sight, in January Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency and imposed strict water conservation measures on residents, businesses, municipalities, and farms with a mandate to cities and towns to reduce their water usage by 25%.

Farmers are by far the largest consumers of water, and accordingly, agricultural use of water-saving technology such as drip irrigation and water reuse is clearly on the rise.  But in addition, residents, businesses, and municipalities are also learning to embrace water-saving techniques.  Residents and businesses were slow to respond to state appeals for voluntary water conservation during the first three years of the drought.  They have been much quicker to respond to the recent imposition of $500/day excess water usage fines. 

The purpose of this paper is to highlight municipal solutions to water conservation through the lens of two cutting edge water projects in California and to suggest ideas for global investment opportunities arising from these and similar projects.  The first is the groundwater replenishment system being utilized in Orange County, California.  The second is a reverse osmosis desalination plant in Carlsbad, California.