Water – our most precious resource

Insights 6/8/2019
Reading time: 2 minute(s)

World Ocean Day raises awareness of the dire state of our oceans. Our seas are getting hotter and dirtier; on land, fresh water is in short supply. At Vontobel, you can invest in sustainable investment solutions.

World Ocean Day on June 8, 2019 raises awareness of the state of our oceans and calls on everyone to protect them. For good reason, too. The sensitive system has fallen out of equilibrium, having been battered by climate change, pollution, overfishing and extinction. The consequences reverberate throughout the ecosystem – including humankind, who depends on healthy oceans.

Oceans contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water. They regulate our climate, feed us and absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide. In addition, around half the oxygen in our atmosphere is produced by microscopic algae and photosynthetic bacteria in the sea. However, things look bad for the remaining three percent. Many people don’t have access to clean fresh water, and the imbalance between water demand and supply creates challenges.

At Vontobel, you can invest in sustainable investment solutions that combat water scarcity and contamination and improve water efficiency. These solutions meet high social and environmental standards while offering potential for income.

Water harvesting and storage

Technologically driven cost reductions of up to 60% have made desalination a more attractive way to harvest drinking water in dry regions. As a result, the desalination market is growing at a rapid rate of 6%, according to Technavio. However, water supplies cannot grow until the waste problem has been fixed: 46 billion liters of purified water are squandered worldwide every day. Leaks can now be detected extremely efficiently by a new satellite-based technology previously used to hunt for water on other planets. Its main benefit: a very low cost per detected leak, thanks to the ease with which large swathes of land can be monitored.

Water infrastructure

To fix the water pollution problem, China is investing USD 300 billion in wastewater treatment over five years (2015-2020). As part of the Ganges River Clean-Up, India has pledged to invest USD 3.1 billion in preventing untreated sewage that would otherwise flow into the Ganges River and another USD 2.9 billion in water distribution, sewer systems and sludge treatment over the same period. Currently, agriculture is responsible for 70% of fresh water pollution and 70% of fresh water consumption.

In the US, the requisite investments in municipal water systems will cost around USD 1 trillion.

Water efficiency

More advanced monitoring, technological improvements and leak prevention improve water-use efficiency. Modern irrigation systems could reduce agricultural water consumption by 30 to 70%. In addition, the development of smart consumption-based metering and billing solutions in residential and commercial buildings represents a growing trend in improving demand-side management that ensures that consumers pay for the water they use.

Investment approach

Vontobel offers investment vehicles and simultaneously drives social and environmental improvements. We focus on three themes: 1. Water harvesting and storage. 2. Water infrastructure. 3 Water efficiency. Scarcity and water pollution require solutions relating to water supply, wastewater treatment and water efficiency, catalyzed by technological advances (e.g. using satellites to search for leaks from space).

Additional information

Would you like to know more about our megatrend “Aqua”? We would be happy to provide you with further information.

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