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Water trading on Wall Street– Basic human right under threat

- By Dwaipayan , 17 December 2020 | 4 MIN READ


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In the inauguration of the International Conference on Water Management organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources in 2003 Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi - APJ Kalam addressed a major issue on international freshwater. The very important issue of water management particularly conservation, development, and management of water resources, concern for providing good quality potable water available to the world population. Today, almost two decades have passed – The global crisis of water is on the headlines

Wall Street is now taking bets on how future shortages will play out. Yes, America is running out of water!!! This week investors, farmers, and municipalities were able to wager on the future price of water for the first time, trading under the ticker (NQH2O) on the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index. The futures, announced in September, are tied to California’s $1.1 billion spot water market, last closed at 489.11 index points, equating to $489 per acre-foot.

Some 1.1 billion people worldwide do not have access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scant for at least one month of the year. Poor sanitation is also a challenge for 2.4 billion people—they are living with diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever, and other water-borne illnesses. Diarrheal diseases alone claim the lives of two million people, mostly children, die each year.

Countless water systems that keep ecosystems thriving and feed a growing human population have become stressed. Water sources such as rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or becoming polluted to use. Sadly, more than half the world’s wetlands have disappeared. Farming and agriculture consumes more water than any other source and wastes much of that through inefficiencies. Frequent climate change is altering patterns of weather conditions and water around the world, causing shortages and droughts in some areas and adversely heavy floods in others.

It is assumed that the situation will only get worse. It will be sooner by 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. And ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.

70% is covered by water on our planet, and it is easy to think that it will always be plentiful. However, freshwater—that we drink, bathe in, irrigate our farm fields with—is becoming extremely rare. Only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers, unavailable for our use.

Things were on the cards for quite some time. Water stocks are not entirely new to investors. American Water, for instance, IPO’d back in 2008 — however water as a commodity like oil, gold or wheat, has never been traded on Wall Street until now. Investors can now take a stake in this most vital liquid, a development that implicates a rather unsettling promise: Irony, if you play the market right, you can get rich off the shortage of the only thing that all life on earth needs to exist.

A study from Harvard University found that by 2071, almost half of the 204 freshwater basins in the country may fall short to meet the monthly water demand. The projected boils down to two key factors: increased demand as the human population in the U.S swells; and weakened supply because of climate change. However, shortages are already happening in many parts of the U.S.

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