Preeti Bhattacharji

Head of Sustainable Investing, US Private Bank

Water is essential to life on Earth – and plays an obvious role in agriculture and food production.

Yet you might not see all the ways in which companies across the economy rely on water. Water is used to cool data centers, dye textiles, mix concrete, generate electricity and suppress dust in mines. Water is also essential to create semiconductors for “smart” phones and devices, which require the liquid to be uniquely and highly purified.

As industrial demand for water rises, however, access is becoming precarious.1 Water stores from rainfall, reservoirs and rivers are in decline.2 In response, nearly a dozen U.S. states have recently passed laws limiting water usage.3

Faced with disruption in their water supply, companies are innovating.

We see forward-thinking companies across both public and private markets spearheading new approaches to monitor and optimize water usage – often deploying technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Change is already taking place in water-intensive industries – including agriculture, apparel and electronics – as existing companies adapt to water restrictions and newer startups drive change in sensor and filtration technology.

As an investor, you can look at these water-related developments as new opportunities to strategically deploy your capital across public and private markets.

New water policies reshape public access

While businesses and communities need water, it isn’t always easy to get or manage. Less than 1% of the Earth’s water is usable fresh water – and in recent years, climate change has made access to fresh water even less secure.4

In response to these changes, policymakers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Washington have all introduced policies to regulate water use.5

These regulations vary widely. Some states have designed complex systems of water rights, while others have simply restricted residential water use. Some have incentivized the reuse of wastewater, while others have curbed companies’ ability to extract groundwater (which is how most farmers have historically irrigated their fields).

Regardless of the regulatory mechanism, each of these policies is designed to reduce and reprice water consumption. And across the United States, residents and businesses alike are feeling the squeeze.6

Companies adapt to restricted flows

Faced with uncertainty around their water supplies, some companies are adapting quickly while others are slower to change. In three particularly water-intensive sectors, we see attractive leaders mitigating risks and investing for resiliency faster than their peers:

Agriculture: Many of the new groundwater restrictions target farming, which is responsible for 80% of total fresh water withdrawals across the United States.7 In response, farmers are switching to “smart” irrigation systems that use water more precisely and avoid runoff. These systems enable some farms to use up to 99% less water than traditional or industrial approaches.8 With the global population expected to grow by 2 billion people over the next 30 years,9 spurring a need to increase food production, the “smart agriculture” market is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.7% through 2030.10

Apparel: Textile production is responsible for 20% of the world’s fresh water pollution, and consumers are increasingly critical of the sector for its water waste.11 Recently, a clothing company in California responded to the backlash by collecting old garments from customers and salvaging them to create premium new pieces. They successfully collected and recycled over 2 million garments in 2022, saving 24.3 million gallons of water in the process.12 These innovations have drawn praise and profits. According to a recent study, 73% of consumers who care about sustainability now say they are willing to pay more for sustainable products (up from just 50% in 2022).13

Semiconductors: Historically, chip manufacturers have needed immense amounts of water to produce semiconductors. And semiconductors don’t just use fresh water – they require “ultrapure” water (1,000 times purer than drinking water) to clean the silicone layers during chip production.14 Faced with growing water scarcity, one semiconductor company in Texas changed its practices to reduce its water consumption by 68% per chip.15 The company now promotes its water management practices as a way to mitigate supply chain risk – which is a major concern for investors given the global chip shortage over the past three years.16

As cheap water gets harder to secure, we expect to see winners and losers in each of these sectors. We believe that the companies best positioned for success are those with the foresight and ability to proactively adapt to the evolving environment – making them more attractive long-term investments.

A rising wave of innovation – and opportunity

Some companies are moving beyond incremental change and creating entirely new technology to conserve and clean water more effectively and profitably.

New AI-powered sensors, for example, can help communities plan for natural disasters that would otherwise stress local water systems. Meanwhile, AI-powered diagnostic tools help companies to better forecast consumer demand, optimize distribution networks, identify repair needs and send out contaminant alerts.17,18 These new tools include biosensors, “smart” meters, pumps, valves and even aquatic drones.

At the cutting edge of technology, commercial scientists are using electrochemistry and materials science to create new filters that can better purify wastewater. These new tools not only clean water but also capture high-value proteins, metals and minerals, which can then be salvaged and sold.19

Often, these breakthrough applications appear first in private markets, where investors ought to expect higher risk and potentially higher rewards for capitalizing early-stage technology. But opportunities may also arise in public markets, where companies are eager to apply new solutions to improve resiliency, reduce costs and find new sources of revenue.

Whether you’re interested in private markets, public markets, or both, the risks and opportunities that come from shifting water demands are well worth exploring.

We can help

To learn more about the opportunities in sustainable water technology that may better align with your values and financial goals, speak with your J.P. Morgan advisor.



Growing municipal and agricultural demand for clean water is being exacerbated by increasing industry demand for clean water to support manufacturing processes. The global market size for water and wastewater treatment was valued at $295 billion in 2022; it climbed to an estimated $314 billion in 2023. The market is expected to grow to more than $572 billion by 2032, according to Precedence Research.


“Diminishing storage returns of reservoir construction,” Nature Communications, May 17, 2023.


Sandi Schwartz, “Water Restrictions Are Expanding,”, July 25 2022.


“Earth’s Fresh Water,” National Geographic Society, September 2022.


Sandi Schwartz, “Water Restrictions Are Expanding,”, July 25 2022.


Ann Carrns, “Water Bills Are Rising. Here’s What to Do About It.” The New York Times, July 14, 2023.


Sarah Rehkamp, Patrick Canning and Catherine Birney, “Tracking the U.S. Domestic Food Supply Chain’s Freshwater Use Over Time,” Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, July 15, 2021.


Jane Marsh, “How Vertical Farming Can Save Water,” Agrilinks, February 23, 2023.


United Nations, “Global Issues: Population,” November 2022.


“Smart agriculture” refers to a variety of technologies that enable precision farming, including livestock monitoring, autonomous harvesting and, in this case, precision irrigation. Grand View Research, “Smart Agriculture Market Size & Trends,”2024.


European Parliament, “The impact of textile production and waste on the environment,” November 15, 2023.


The Ecosystem Integrity Fund, “Annual Impact Report,” 2022.


Luq Niazi, Joe Dittmar, Karl Hallner et al, “2024 Consumer Study: Revolutionize retail with AI everywhere,” IBM Institute for Business Value, January 5, 2024.


Prakash Govindan, “Water’s Critical Role in Semiconductor Manufacturing,” Industry Today, January 18, 2022.


CDP Water Security 2023 Questionnaire, CDP Worldwide.


Asa Fitch and Greg Ip, “Chips Are the New Oil and America Is Spending Billions to Safeguard Its Supply,” The Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2023.


Andy Fell, “AI Institute for Food Systems Showcases Projects in DC,” University of California, Davis, October 2023.


Hesam Kamyab, Tayebeh Khademi and Shreeshivadasan Chelliapan et al, “The Latest Innovative Avenues for the Utilization of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics in Water Resource Management,” Results in Engineering, November 2023.


Zachary Bogue and Zach Ocko, “DCVC Deep Tech Opportunities Report,”DCVC, July 21, 2023.

Connect with a Wealth Advisor

Our Wealth Advisors begin by getting to know you personally. To get started, tell us about your needs and we’ll reach out to you.

Connect now


Sustainable investing (“SI”) and investment approaches that incorporate environmental social and governance (“ESG”) objectives may include additional risks. SI strategies, including ESG separately managed accounts (“SMAs”), mutual funds and exchange traded funds (“ETFs”), may limit the types and number of investment opportunities and, as a result, could underperform other strategies that do not have an ESG or sustainable focus. Certain strategies focused on particular sectors may be more concentrated in particular industries that share common factors and can be subject to similar business risks and regulatory burdens. Investing on the basis of sustainability/ESG criteria can involve qualitative and subjective analysis and there can be no assurance that the methodology utilized, or determinations made, by the investment manager will align with the beliefs or values of the investor. Investment managers can have different approaches to ESG or sustainable investing and can offer strategies that differ from the strategies offered by other investment managers with respect to the same theme or topic. ESG or sustainable investing is not a uniformly defined concept and scores or ratings may vary across data providers that use similar or different screens based on their process for evaluating ESG characteristics. Additionally, when evaluating investments, an investment manager is dependent upon information and data that may be incomplete, inaccurate or unavailable, which could cause the manager to incorrectly assess an investment’s ESG/ SI performance.

The evolving nature of sustainable finance regulations and the development of jurisdiction-specific legislation setting out the regulatory criteria for a “sustainable investment” or “ESG” investment mean that there is likely to be a degree of divergence as to the regulatory meaning of such terms. This is already the case in the European Union where, for example, under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (EU) (2019/2088) (“SFDR”) certain criteria must be satisfied in order for a product to be classified as a “sustainable investment”. Unless otherwise specified, any references to “sustainable investing” or “ESG” in this material are intended as references to our internally developed criteria only and not to any jurisdiction-specific regulatory definition.

This material is for informational purposes only, and may inform you of certain products and services offered by J.P. Morgan’s wealth management businesses, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPM”). Products and services described, as well as associated fees, charges and interest rates, are subject to change in accordance with the applicable account agreements and may differ among geographic locations. Not all products and services are offered at all locations. If you are a person with a disability and need additional support accessing this material, please contact your J.P. Morgan team or email us at for assistance. Please read all Important Information.

Any views, strategies or products discussed in this material may not be appropriate for all individuals and are subject to risks. Investors may get back less than they invested, and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Asset allocation/diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss. Nothing in this material should be relied upon in isolation for the purpose of making an investment decision. You are urged to consider carefully whether the services, products, asset classes (e.g. equities, fixed income, alternative investments, commodities, etc.) or strategies discussed are suitable to your needs. You must also consider the objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with an investment service, product or strategy prior to making an investment decision. For this and more complete information, including discussion of your goals/situation, contact your J.P. Morgan representative.

NON-RELIANCECertain information contained in this material is believed to be reliable; however, JPM does not represent or warrant its accuracy, reliability or completeness, or accept any liability for any loss or damage (whether direct or indirect) arising out of the use of all or any part of this material. No representation or warranty should be made with regard to any computations, graphs, tables, diagrams or commentary in this material, which are provided for illustration/reference purposes only. The views, opinions, estimates and strategies expressed in this material constitute our judgment based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. JPM assumes no duty to update any information in this material in the event that such information changes. Views, opinions, estimates and strategies expressed herein may differ from those expressed by other areas of JPM, views expressed for other purposes or in other contexts, and this material should not be regarded as a research report. Any projected results and risks are based solely on hypothetical examples cited, and actual results and risks will vary depending on specific circumstances. Forward-looking statements should not be considered as guarantees or predictions of future events.

Nothing in this document shall be construed as giving rise to any duty of care owed to, or advisory relationship with, you or any third party. Nothing in this document shall be regarded as an offer, solicitation, recommendation or advice (whether financial, accounting, legal, tax or other) given by J.P. Morgan and/or its officers or employees, irrespective of whether or not such communication was given at your request. J.P. Morgan and its affiliates and employees do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any financial transactions.

Legal Entity and Regulatory Information.

J.P. Morgan Wealth Management is a business of JPMorgan Chase & Co., which offers investment products and services through J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JPMS), a registered broker-dealer and investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC. Insurance products are made available through Chase Insurance Agency, Inc. (CIA), a licensed insurance agency, doing business as Chase Insurance Agency Services, Inc. in Florida. Certain custody and other services are provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMCB). JPMS, CIA and JPMCB are affiliated companies under the common control of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Products not available in all states.

Bank deposit accounts and related services, such as checking, savings and bank lending, are offered by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

This document may provide information about the brokerage and investment advisory services provided by J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (“JPMS”). The agreements entered into with JPMS, and corresponding disclosures provided with respect to the different products and services provided by JPMS (including our Form ADV disclosure brochure, if and when applicable), contain important information about the capacity in which we will be acting. You should read them all carefully. We encourage clients to speak to their JPMS representative regarding the nature of the products and services and to ask any questions they may have about the difference between brokerage and investment advisory services, including the obligation to disclose conflicts of interests and to act in the best interests of our clients.

J.P. Morgan may hold a position for itself or our other clients which may not be consistent with the information, opinions, estimates, investment strategies or views expressed in this document.  JPMorgan Chase & Co. or its affiliates may hold a position or act as market maker in the financial instruments of any issuer discussed herein or act as an underwriter, placement agent, advisor or lender to such issuer.