They rallied in Houston to pray for a few nimbus clouds...
It's been the Lone Star State's driest ten months in more than a century — maybe longer, but the data doesn't go back that far — and Texans are willing to try anything at this point.
Texas has only received about 6 inches of rain since January. The norm is about 13 inches.
Today, more than half the state's streams and rivers are at below normal flow rates. Seven reservoirs are almost completely dry, and as you probably read a couple of weeks ago, one West Texas lake became so depleted that fish suffocated due to lack of oxygen. That lake turned red with bacteria, leading droves of media whores to run apocalyptic stories with biblical overtones.
Irrational behavior does tend to accompany ecological crises, so I can't say I was surprised.
And let's face it: When the wells run dry, we go into survival mode... especially here in the United States, where for years, our water problem has simply been that we've had too much of it.
Water, Water Everywhere
As comically pointed out in an ad for the non-profit organization Drop in the Bucket, water is too readily available.
We swim in it, we splash it on our cars, when we get depressed, we retreat to the shower and practice our falsetto...
We are extremely fortunate to be in this position. Heck, even with Texas in full drought mode, I don't know a single Texan who doesn't have access to clean drinking water.
Yet in some parts of the world, folks would lap water from a dirty puddle just to survive a few more days.
It'll never come to that for us. Even if we enter into a decades-long drought that turns cropland to desert and lakes into fossil tombs, one way or another, we'll find a way to maintain our very fortunate way of life.
And while it will come at a price, it'll also enable us to a make a ton of dough in the process.
Waiting is NOT an Option
From logistics to infrastructure to security, the United States is actively undergoing a major transformation of its water management systems and networks.
This isn't actually news, and you've certainly read about water works opportunities in these pages before. But over the past year, due mostly to extreme weather and drought conditions, state and local governments have been forced to pony up for new water works projects that many hoped could've been avoided until the economy strengthened and more tax revenues came rolling in.
And although these state and local governments are already operating on shoestring budgets, when the pipes burst or the reclamation and filtration systems fail or become overloaded, you can't just “wait it out.”
The bottom line is, when it comes to water works projects, it's...
Time to Pay the Fiddler
Every day, 850 water main breaks occur in North America at a total annual repair cost of over $3 billion.
Corrosion of our old pipes costs U.S. drinking water and wastewater systems more than $50.7 billion a year.
Not to sound insensitive, but somebody's making a boatload. And we're jumping on for the ride...
As droughts continue to hammer 40 percent of the contiguous United States — and more than 60 percent of the country sits above a crumbling infrastructure — there's never been a better to time to stake your claim to a few solid water works plays.
Here are 14 water works stocks you should know about:
- Badger Meter (AMEX: BMI)
- Calgon Carbon Corp (NYSE: CCC)
- Claymore S&P Global Water (NYSE: CGW)
- Consolidated Water Co (NASDAQ: CWCO)
- Energy Recovery (NASDAQ: ERII)
- Flow International (NASDAQ: FLOW)
- Insituform Technologies (NASDAQ: INSU)
- Layne Christensen (NASDAQ: LAYN)
- Lindsay Corporation (NYSE: LNN)
- PowerShares Water Resources (AMEX: PHO)
- Roper Industries (NYSE: ROP)
- Tetra Tech (NASDAQ: TTEK)
- Veolia Environment SA (NYSE: VE)
- Watts Water Technologies (NYSE: WTS)
Whether by tax dollars or privatization, the repair and upgrade of our water management systems and networks is a lock.
And we're going to milk this one for every penny.
To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth...
Editor, Energy and Capital