Water: An Impact Investment Primer for Family Offices and Foundations

Mar 27, 2017

Why Water? Why Now? Investment opportunities in water are growing in size and number. Several forces intensify the urgency for government, industry, and community leaders to address water insecurity. First, there is a severe shortage of investment in water infrastructure. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that $7.5 trillion of spending globally on water is needed in the next fifteen years.1 Every year, the United States wastes a trillion gallons of water due to leaky and broken water mains.2 Second, water risk—having not enough, or too much, or not the right quality—is a growing concern for cities and towns, large industrial businesses, farmers, and conservationists. Water risk will only increase as the climate changes and the global population grows. Third, water is local and personal. Citizens are applying increasing pressure on their elected officials to solve water problems. Feeling soaked by leaky pipes and rising bills, 88% of Americans believe United States water infrastructure needs reform; elected officials rarely see such overwhelming agreement on any issue.3 Finally, entrepreneurs and investors who recognize the scale of the problems posed by water risk see a significant opportunity to make money developing solutions for willing payers, whether they be businesses, governments, or consumers.

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