7 Water Stocks to Buy as the World Fights for the Next Scarce Resource

water stocks - 7 Water Stocks to Buy as the World Fights for the Next Scarce Resource

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  • American Water Works (AWK): The largest among water stocks to buy, AWK is a go-to idea in this resource space.
  • York Water (YORW): Featuring a concentrated market and a centuries-long dividend payer, YORW is all about stability.
  • California Water Service (CWT): With the Golden State suffering a severe drought, CWT is poised to move cynically higher.
  • Evoqua Water Technologies (AQUA): Providing water treatment services for large-scale needs, AQUA should prove relevant.
  • 3M (MMM): An applied-science giant, 3M provides multiple water and beverage application filtration products.
  • PepsiCo (PEP): One of the beverage stalwarts, PEP could rise on its popular water bottle brand.
  • Veolia Environnement (VEOEY): Though speculative, Veolia is relevant for its desalination initiatives.

Although myriad ideas have come to light attempting to explain Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reckless decision to invade neighboring Ukraine – ranging from restoring the old Soviet Union to mental illness – at least part of the reason could be connected to water resources. If so, the dynamic adds fresh urgency for investors to consider water stocks to buy.

Back when Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, the impacted Ukrainian government responded with several measures. One of them was a building of a concrete dam to stop water inflows into its stolen territory, thus making Crimea far less economically viable for the Russians. Sure enough, addressing this concern was a priority in Putin’s current “special military operation.”

Such a dramatic response to securing this critical resource focuses substantial attention on water stocks. It’s not just about the fact that it’s humanity’s most precious commodity. In many if not most cases, water is the lifeblood of a productive economies. Lose water and lose your country – it could be that simple.

Further, it’s not just a pressurized circumstance in eastern Europe. Last year, the BBC reported that similar disruptive actions of building dams affecting downwind communities across the globe have created huge tensions. These tensions could eventually boil over into armed conflicts, which again articulates the wider importance of water stocks to buy.

To be fair, no investment category is immune from potential volatility-inducing events, such as a recession. But if you’re looking for a combination of growth opportunities and stability, these water stocks to buy could fit the bill nicely.

AWK American Water Works Company $169.87
YORW York Water Co $43.30
CWT
California Water Service Group $58.69
AQUA Evoqua Water Technologies Corp $44.99
MMM
3M Co $149.81
PEP PepsiCo, Inc. $173.13
VEOEY Veolia Environnement SA $29.66

Water Stocks: American Water Works (AWK)

A photo of water being poured into a glass that's sitting on a table.
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The biggest name among direct-play water stocks, American Water Works (NYSE:AWK) is a go-to idea in this resource space. Featuring a history dating back to the late 19th century, AWK is really a benchmark for stability. While consumer products and technologies come and go, no innovation has addressed our dependency on water. Until then, you’d imagine that AWK is a relatively easy long-term buy.

Moreover, it appears that shares are responding to current events. Like most other publicly traded equities, AWK didn’t start 2022 off on the right foot. But around mid-February, the stock started to bounce higher. And the geopolitical flashpoint in Ukraine served to fuel AWK’s permanently relevant business profile, which provides water utility services primarily to the eastern half of the country.

Better yet, American Water Works is delivering on the financial front as well. In 2021, it posted net income of $1.26 billion, which appears to be an all-time high.

York Water (YORW)

vats of water
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While investors probably won’t get rich off of York Water (NASDAQ:YORW), it’s arguably one of the top water stocks to buy if you’re prioritizing stability. In November 2020, York Water made some headlines when it announced its 600th consecutive dividend.

Yes, that’s right – 600. Furthermore, according to its corporate press release, “York Water, which is the oldest publicly traded company in the nation, has never missed a dividend in over 200 years. This is believed to be the longest record of consecutive dividends in America.”

I have a feeling this is one of the water stocks that’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

What makes the company attractive is that in a business world focusing on expanding one’s footprint, York is concentrated in municipalities across southern Pennsylvania. While YORW doesn’t cater to outright growth, its strong position in its chosen market insulates it from would-be competitors.

California Water Service (CWT)

a picture of Los Angeles, California
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Although California is often a destination state, its residents pay a steep price for its natural beauty and near-constant sunlight. Increasingly, the rise in costs of living is tied to water resources. Just recently, the New York Times published an op-ed by a scientist from the University of California, Berkeley, Central Sierra Snow Lab, arguing that the current drought conditions may be worse than anticipated in the Golden State.

It’s hard to disagree with that notion considering that naturally occurring dynamics such as rainfall have not shifted favorably to address the drought. While it’s of little comfort on a direct level, investors may want to hedge against this negative backdrop with California Water Service (NYSE:CWT). A utility firm providing drinking water and wastewater services, CWT belongs on your list of water stocks to buy because of its untenable relevance.

Like any other necessary commodity, users have no choice but to pay up. With the Golden State being the biggest economy in the U.S., you know the folks will do just that.

Water Stocks: Evoqua Water Technologies (AQUA)

An EVOQUA branded truck is seen parked in an I-5 rest area
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Billed as a leading provider of water and wastewater treatment solutions, Evoqua Water Technologies (NYSE:AQUA) focuses on large-scale resource needs for industrial and municipal customers. As well, it offers services for recreational users, providing balanced depth. Particularly, Evoqua specializes in identifying emerging water concerns, crafting solutions for its clients to protect their businesses and end-users.

As with the other water stocks, the narrative for AQUA involves a cynical element. To be clear, Evoqua and others promote much needed and appreciated services. At the same time, clients basically have few to no alternatives. Water solutions represent absolute necessities, whether to support communities or economies.

In its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2021, Evoqua posted revenue of $1.46 billion, which was up a modest 2.4% from the prior year’s tally. However, in its most recent fourth quarter, it delivered sales of $366 million, up nearly 14% year-over-year. Therefore, it’s well worth longer-term consideration.

3M (MMM)

3M (MMM) logo on top of a corporate building
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When you think about applied-sciences firm 3M (NYSE:MMM), you might recall its iconic Post-it Notes or other office products. But as one of the water stocks to buy? Normally, that wouldn’t be part of MMM’s profile. However, the positive element about having a large – and perhaps somewhat confusing – conglomerate is that you can have your footprint in several markets.

Regarding exposure to water stocks, 3M manufactures several beverage application filtration and water treatment systems for residential and commercial use. Thanks to our growing population along with increased demand for water throughout the world, 3M is poised to perform well over the long run. After all, access to water is only half the battle. Ensuring its security or appropriate use is the other half, a component which 3M can address.

Understandably, MMM isn’t one of the most exciting water stocks, particularly because it’s not a direct play. However, with multiple business arms, it could be one of the more reliable.

PepsiCo (PEP)

Pepsi Factory in Samara, Russia. Pepsi logo on a blue warehouse.
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Another name among water stocks that doesn’t particularly ring as relevant, PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) is best known for its sugary beverages. As well, it features a long and storied rivalry with a competing beverage firm that I won’t name – but you know what I’m talking about.

Despite its reputation, though, PepsiCo ties into the consumer retail water business through its Aquafina brand. Consistently, Aquafina ranks as the top water bottle brand, beating out some high-profile competitors. Still, a question must come up: with soaring inflation being a vexing problem, could PEP lose some of its charm?

I’m not going to give you a bunch of bovine products and say it’s not a concern. However, it’s also fair to point out that the coronavirus pandemic, with its lockdowns and mandates, has created a mass-scale cabin fever effect. Therefore, the increased mobility of people – especially at entertainment venues — may help lift PEP.

Water Stocks: Veolia Environnement (VEOEY)

Veolia sign text and brand logo French company Environnement and supplier of water services in all world
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While I wouldn’t classify Veolia Environnement (OTCMKTS:VEOEY) as absurdly risky – it does have a market capitalization of nearly $21 billion at time of writing – if you’re buying VEOEY for its desalination business, you may want to prep yourself for potential volatility.

Desalination is the process of distilling ocean water and converting it to a potable variety. It’s long been the stuff of science fiction. About 71% of the Earth’s surface is water. Of course, most of it is undrinkable. But if we could desalinate seawater, we could dramatically impact water scarcity. Thus, VEOEY sounds like the most transformative among water stocks available for trading.

Although the concept is no doubt intriguing, it’s not really the science of desalination that’s the problem. Rather, it’s making the science work cheaply enough so that it’s economically viable. Potentially, as technology in the space improves, we could be able to suck in seawater and convert it to our needs. But it’s a tough arena so patience is a must.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.


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