The world is facing a growing shortage of fresh water. In fact, dwindling supplies of this most natural of resources are making water nearly as hard to find as oil. That means companies involved in selling, purifying or facilitating the transport of water should be good investments as the world grapples with reduced flows of the wet stuff.
Shares of water-related companies have bucked the tide during the market downturn. Over the past year to September 8, PowerShares Water Resources, an exchange-traded fund, broke even, while Standard & PoorÕs 500-stock index sank 14%. Some water stocks have performed remarkably well. Shares of Northwest Pipe -- which, not surprisingly, makes pipes for water infrastructure and other purposes -- have jumped 49% over the past year. Shares of American Water Works, a utility, have risen 3% since the company went public in April, outshining the S&P 500 by 13 percentage points.