A response/expansion on this article:
"Water is the oil of the 21st century.” Andrew Liveris, CEO of DOW Chemical Company (quoted in The Economist magazine, August 21, 2008)
The unique part about water being the oil of the 21st century is every country becomes the victim of the exploitation. In the world of oil there are certain countries which are exploited for their reserves. Other countries in the world of oil are exploited through the consumer market however this exploitation is far different. When you are exploited through the consumer market you still have a degree of power in the process through how much you buy based on the price. In the case of an exploited country those people usually just live under dictatorships which are there to maintain control of the region so that the oil trade (and exploitation of their resources) can continue.
It is important to realize though, in the world of oil, not all countries use oil in the same amount. They don't all have the same energy needs. Some countries are more developed than others and therefore necessitate more oil consumption. Even some exploited countries are more developed than others and have greater needs than others. Also, on the most basic scale, not all countries have access to the same amount due to their situation in the global economic scheme.
In the case of water everyone needs to use water in the same amount. There are countries right now with limited access to clean water but their regions aren't really necessarily being exploited for water to be used in the global economy. If everyone needs water equally, and our access to it is restricted due to private ownership of the land... it's possible, once it has all been claimed by the exploiters... every country subjected to this will have similar access to water as those countries having their oil exploited have access to that now.
Oh, yeah. All of that combined with growing water scarcity in general, mixed with Global Warming.
“Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals.” Citigroup’s top economist, Willem Buitler
They will exploit to the fullest extent because if it's that hot a commodity, it's that hot a commodity because of its scarcity and the almost dehydrating demand for it.