Is water the next oil?

The price of a gallon of gasoline nationwide pushed to $3.10 today. We’ve seen this before. A combination of increased economic activity and commodity traders betting on the price of gasoline makes it a hot commodity.

Now, there may be another one that could get bid up to high levels: Water.

People keep moving into areas where there’s no (or little) water: Texas, Arizona, California. They’re going to need water and, as with gasoline, you can probably get it if you want to pay for it. That means trading in it in the commodity markets and establishing a benchmark price, similar to oil.

Last summer, Nestle exec Peter Brabeck-Letmathe argued that it’s time to treat water as the finite resource it is

While it is a basic human right to have access to subsidised water for hydration and hygiene, why should washing your car, filling a swimming pool or watering a garden be priced in the same way? Full cost recovery for these activities will not only ensure that we are more judicious in our use, but will also, crucially, help repair our leaking infrastructure. In the poorest areas, it will also help to extend pipes so that water reaches more homes.

On CNBC today, a couple of experts speculated that there’s money to be made in water, a commodity that currently doesn’t have a price.