Many major companies are also looking to invest in water because industries such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals and electric power all depend on clean water. General Electric (GE), for example, purchased a water treatment company, Ionics, Inc., for $1.3 billion. GE also expects to reach $10 billion in water- business sales over the next 10 years and has plans to open several desalination plants a year, each of which cost up to $300 million.

With this industry growing at such a rapid pace, some of the ETFs focusing on water include:

  • PowerShares Water Resource Portfolio (PHO), is up 1.7% year-to-date. PHO tracks the Palisades Water Index and has a market value of $2.3 billion.
  • First Trust ISE Water Index (FIW), is up 2.1% year-to-date. FIW has a $43 million mareket value and tracks the ISE Water Index.
  • Claymore S&P Global Water Index (CGW), is down 9.7% year-to-date. CGW has a $358 million market value and tracks the S&P Global wAter Index.
  • PowerShares Global Water Portfolio (PIO), is down 14.7% year-to-date. PIO is based on the Palisades Global Water Index and has a market value of $382 million.

For full disclosure, some of Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of PHO.