There’s a driving rain pelting my windows. The steady flow of water creates the perfect setting for me to consider earnings results from a leading water-equipment manufacturer.

After watching shares sink to a low earlier this year, investors are undoubtedly eager to see profits flowing from Mueller Water Products (NYSE:MWA) (NYSE:MWA-B). Mueller achieved a 5% rise in net sales thanks to price hikes, currency gains from the stronger Canadian dollar, and volume increases from two of the three business segments. Income from operations actually slipped 6.6%, though, on higher raw material and component costs.

While the company didn't exactly hit one out of the water park, this quarter was good for a near 10% pop in the shares, both the A and B classes. What really gave this Fool pause, however, was the decidedly cautious outlook issued with the release. Management "remain[s] cautious about the near-term economic environment given the increasing cost of raw materials and weak residential construction market."

If Fools are to interpret management’s outlook statement for the short term to mean that Mueller requires strength from residential construction to mount a recovery, then investors might be drinking stagnant water from Mueller's pipes -- homebuilders like Pulte Homes (NYSE:PHM) and D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) are still lost in the woods.

Bolstering the long-run case for this key water infrastructure supplier, though, is the need to upgrade the United States’ own infrastructure. The EPA anticipates a "wave of infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement." (Wave! Get it?)

If major infrastructure investments in the U.S. are indeed inevitable to keep the water flowing regardless of the economic climate, then the battered shares of Mueller Water could present a long-term value. Such a megatrend could also benefit competitor Tyco International (NYSE:TYC), which has traded sideways since its major reorganization last summer. For the investors looking to play multiple megatrends at once, though, take a look at Flowserve (NYSE:FLS). Flowserve offers exposure to both the energy industry and water treatment, and a more positive outlook for flowing profits.

Further Foolishness:

Tyco International is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Christopher Barker captains yachts and writes about stocks. He can also be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He owns shares of Aqua America. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.