Matt Damon pledges not to use toilet
At least until everyone in the world has access to clean water. Can water investors do well by doing good?
Damon's threat is all part of a humorous three-minute spoof released by his nonprofit group, Water.org, designed to draw attention to the worldwide water crisis and the first in a series of videos shot at YouTube studios in Playa Vista, Calif.
In the video, Damon holds a mock news conference to announce that he won't use the toilet until people pay more attention to the water crisis and fields comical questions from a room filled with "actor" reporters.
Damon directs people to Strikewithme.org, where they can learn more about the water crisis, donate money and sign up to integrate their social media accounts with the effort.
While Damon's threat is satire, the water crisis is real. According to Damon, 780 million people worldwide lack access to clean water. In addition, Money Morning reports that most water delivery systems throughout the world are badly in need of repair or replacement. In the U.S. alone, estimates of water infrastructure needs run as high as $1 trillion.
The problem extends beyond the United States. The World Water Council says that current annual infrastructure spending of about $80 billion will double just within the next several years.
The effort that goes into making water available to billions of people -- storage, making it potable, getting it to users reliably -- isn't just about profit opportunities, it's about humanitarian needs as well. That's the message Damon and his organization are trying to spread.
Investors interested in both making a profit and helping improve the world's water supply may want to consider:
Xylem Inc. (XYL), where water infrastructure accounts for half of the company’s revenue, was up nearly 2 percent on Tuesday to close at $27.95. It also pays a 1.5 percent dividend.
Danaher Corp (DHR) makes water instrumentation and disinfection systems. It closed up 0.5 percent pays a dividend of 0.2 percent.
Northwest Pipe Co. (NWPX), is pure water play manufacturing large-scale pipes for drinking water systems. This small cap stock has an average volume of only 34,700 shares but is in a perfect position for capitalizing on increased infrastructure expenditures.
Investing in water isn't confined to stocks. Water ETFs include:
PowerShares Global Water Portfolio (PIO), an ETF that focuses on water treatment companies, but includes stocks in emerging markets as well as the U.S.
Guggenheim S&P Global Water Index (CGW) tracks the Standard & Poor's Global Water Index.
First Trust ISE Water Index Fund (FIW) is based on an index significantly levered to potable and waste water industries.
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