For many people, the looming water crisis is already here
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For many people, the looming water crisis is already here

There are few places in the world that illustrate Dominion’s interest in water technology as profoundly as Cape Town, South Africa. There, daily water use is capped to 50 liters per person. That’s less than a third of the daily water use of the average person in the developed world (153 liters), and significantly less than the average American uses on their daily shower (77.4 liters). Flushing the toilet uses almost ten liters, so the old saying “if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” has been transformed from a cheeky ecological rhyme into an official government guideline. You can learn more through the fascinating documentary below: it is well worth 16 minutes of your time.

If you watched to the end, you will already know that Cape Town is not unique. There are 120 cities around the world, including Melbourne, Beijing, and Los Angeles, that suffer with similarly diminished water sources, and 2.1 billion people lack safely managed drinking water. Could it get any worse? Yes – alarmingly so.

According to research by Ofwat – the Water Services Regulation Authority for England and Wales – in many developing countries, the average person is using as little as 20 liters per day. For reference, that is roughly the amount that the average person in Britain used in the 19th Century, when illness due to poor hygiene and contaminated water supplies was rampant. In some countries, the average daily water use per person is as low as 10 liters – almost as much, as we have seen, as a single flush of the toilet.

With global warming continuing to increase alongside population growth, and our access to the world’s water supplies remaining stagnant, the water crisis is poised to become a catastrophic global phenomenon. But, there are areas where we can work now to improve our chances of success: using more water efficient technologies around the home, in agriculture and industry; adopting pioneering water re-use and recycling methods; replacing aged infrastructure that weeps water out of leaky pipework; making sustainable choices in our everyday lives.

Many of the solutions listed above are being championed by water technology companies. These companies represent both a global good and a sound investment: the water crisis is not on the horizon – for many of us, it’s already here.


Dominion holds a number of companies in its Global Trends Managed Fund that are actively engaged in developing new products to protect us from the effects of a global water crisis, such as Xylem Inc., Polypipe, and Beijing Water Enterprises.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author at the date of publication and not necessarily those of Dominion Fund Management Limited. The content of this article is not intended as investment advice and will not be updated after publication. Images, video, quotations from literature and any such material which may be subject to copyright is reproduced in whole or in part in this article on the basis of Fair use as applied to news reporting and journalistic comment on events.