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DEFINITION of 'Water ETF'

An exchange-traded fund that invests in companies operating in industries such as water treatment and purification, water utilities, water monitoring, and broader distribution and retail companies. Water ETFs invest the majority of their assets into publicly traded equities based on an underlying index, which may be created in house or by a third-party market service.

BREAKING DOWN 'Water ETF'

There are water ETFs available that focus primarily on U.S.-based companies, while others have a more international focus. Underlying fund indexes are varied, but all include common stocks and American depositary receipts (ADRs) of foreign-based companies. The funds tend to be managed passively around their underlying indexes.

As the world's population grows, its finite water supply may become the most precious natural resource. This has led to heightened investor demand for companies engaged in creating potable water for consumers, irrigation supplies for farming, and other water-based goods and services.

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