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PowerShares Water Resources

Trend: Water scarcity

The world’s population is expected to boom from 7 billion people in 2012 to 10 billion people by 2050. That’s going to put the screws to natural resources, and fresh water is among one of the biggest concerns.

After all, you don’t just need fresh water for drinking — you need ample supplies to keep pace with agriculture, manufacturing and other purposes.

To play this trend, consider the PowerShares Water Resources (NYSE:PHO) ETF. The PHO, which has roughly $800 million in assets under management, is based on an index of 31 companies that “create products designed to conserve and purify water for homes, businesses and industries.”

PHO’s holdings span categories like utilities, industrial equipment and chemicals. Top names include pumps-and-valves manufacturer Flowserve (NYSE:FLS), utility stock American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) and analytical instrument maker Waters (NYSE:WAT).

PHO has performed respectably in 2012, slightly beating the markets with a 15% return at a charges of 0.62% in expenses.

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