Insights

It’s official – the water industry works backwards

Unaccounted-for water, workforce productivity, increased coverage – these are the things that matter to water utilities, aren’t they? Not according to a brilliantly counter-intuitive analysis of the World Bank’s IB-Net database I have just read.

IB-Net is a database of water performance indicators from 2,000 water utilities from 85 countries around the world (see www.ib-net.org). Every ...

What can a spaceman teach us about water?

The theme for this year’s Global Water Summit in Seville is “the Water Risk Nexus”. It begs the question: do we need another nexus to vex us?

Certainly there seem to be a lot of nexi knocking around these days. The water-energy nexus, the water-food nexus, the water-energy-food-fibre nexus. They all seem to be saying that we live in ...

Don’t let the energy sector run away with our sludge

Hard copies of our new report on the sludge management market arrived in the office today. It is an interesting read. Sludge is the final frontier of water and wastewater treatment. Every other area of the water sector is essentially a mature market addressed by mature technology. Sludge has somehow been left behind by the rest of the water sector ...

Pricing upstream from Jeddah to London

I rushed back from the Saudi Power and Water Forum in Jeddah to take part in HSBC analyst Verity Mitchell’s water investment seminar in London earlier this week. On the face of it, the two water markets couldn’t be more different: Saudi Arabia with its fast-growing population, buoyant economy and almost absolute water scarcity; and the UK with ...

What does Veolia Environnement need Bertreau for?

Veolia announced on Monday that it had hired Francois Bertreau as group chief operating officer. Bertreau was formerly CEO of Norbert Dentressangle, the logistics firm whose red and white trucks have become a ubiquitous presence on European roads.

It is an interesting appointment for a company which is supposed to be selling its interests in the transport sector. In France ...

Risk management lessons from desalination disasters

I am in Sacramento today to give a paper on the Top 10 Desalination Disasters of all time. Although the title is somewhat incendiary, it raises a serious question: what is the best way of managing risk for big-ticket infrastructure projects?

For the record, my top 10 disasters are:

1) Wonthaggi, Australia – $1 billion additional EPC costs

2) Hong Kong ...