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 ...

The energy and water nexus in Houston, Texas

We held a remarkable conference on water and energy in Houston at the beginning of the month. It was a complete sell-out, bringing together all sorts of people who wouldn’t normally congregate in a room together, from drillers to desalters, and frac’ers to farmers.

In the past, I have been slightly worried that the water sector’s interest ...

Understanding the desal market’s next move

We are publishing the latest edition of the GWI/IDA Worldwide Desalting Plant Inventory next week. It is a bit of an eye-opener for the desalination industry.

On the one hand, it shows that installed desal capacity has risen by 57% over the past five years – a rate of increase the industry has not known since the early days. On ...

Bridging the gap between water and economics

I was in Washington on Tuesday for the Growing Blue meeting, which was surprisingly successful. The idea behind Growing Blue is to make the link between water and economics. It is the brainchild of Laurent Auguste, CEO of Veolia Water North America. It is now supported by a number of organisations and companies including Xylem, IBM, and the Nature Conservancy ...

At last – a new business model for private water

It is ten years since the Argentine peso devaluation wiped out the international private water market as we knew it. Only now are we seeing the beginnings of a new business model to replace it.

This thought came to me after interviewing Suez Environnement boss Jean-Louis Chaussade in London last night (you will be able to read the whole story ...