A rambling note on water (mostly in CA) :
(1) Water has been an issue in the west for many years. *On a local level since the first immigrant farmers settled here and more recently on a regional, intra-state and even international level and I think that it is only going to get worse.
(2) Water has been diverted stolen from the Colorado river, the Sacramento river delta (N. Ca.) and the Owens valley to supply LA and agriculture in the Central Valley for many years. *I think that they first "tapped" water from the Owens valley around the turn of the century.
(3) There has been significant environmental degradation in the Owens valley because of the water loss.
(4) Just yesterday I heard that there was a new government study that concluded that more water could be diverted from the Sac. River Delta area without any environmental consequences and that some of the environmental groups were going to challenge it. *This has been a CA issue for many years. *It is basically nothern CA against southern CA and ag interests.
(5) As another poster mentioned water is subsidized by government dam building, etc. *Normal I support free market solutions but since the gov is already subsidizing the water it seem to me that some social engineering is warranted. *For example cotton and rice, two very water intensive crops are grown in the central valley. *For those of you that don't know, CA is a "desert" for about half the year. *We basically get zero rain from May through September. *Given that I don't think that it makes sense to grow cotton and rice in Ca. *Let Alabama and Louisiana do that. *CA ag can focus on fruit and nuts. *After all the rest of the country views CA as the "land of fruits and nuts" anyway *
(6) The water flow in the Colorado river has been decreasing for the last 100 years -- since the original agreements were made between the states on how the water should be divided. *There is less water available now than when they originally divided it up. *Furthermore, the "down stream" states of CA, NV and AZ use more than their allocation. *They are able to do this because historically the upstream states of CO, NM, UT and WY have not used their allocation. *Projections suggest that this will change in the future.* (I recall hearing this about 10 years ago.* I don't know if the agreements could have been reengoiated?)
(7) Mexico is also involved with both Colorado river quality and quantity. *Ten-twenty years ago there was a lot of discussion of building desalination plants along the border because the water quality had deteriorated to the point that it no longer met the quality requirements for our international agreements. *I don't know what happened?
(8) By the way water is pumped from the Delta (sea level) up over the mountains just north of LA (about 4000' I believe). *I would guess that they have a turbine on the other side to recover the energy.
So what will happen and can you profit from it? *I certainly don't know but it does seem that the type of infrastruture mega-projects that would be required for example to carry water from the Columbia river to CA have declined since the 70s. *It would seem that investing in companies that would profit from this sort of thing would be high risk-high return. *It would seem to me that investing in companies that "own" the water could provide an income stream with opportunity for growth. *In either case I would think that they would be long term.
By the way I just ripped out my front lawn and am in the process of replacing it with "california native plants." *According to the propaganda these plants are "adapted" to our climate and require little or no water (or fertilizer) during the summer and of course there is no mowing. *I estimate that it will save about $20/month for about 5 months off of the water bill. *I don't think that it is a great investment but it seemed like a good thing to do.