Global Water Intelligence Magazine

Mar 16 cover

Vol 17, Issue 3 (March 2016)

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In Global Water Intelligence this month

Need to know

Iberian misery
  • As GWI went to press, Spanish construction giant Abengoa was applying to the courts for extra time to push through a deal with its creditors...
  • Going forward, Abengoa will no longer be a financial investor in the projects it develops, which makes things difficult for Abengoa Water, which is essentially the most savvy water project developer in the business. The company was not included in the shortlist of companies prequalified for Oman’s privately financed desal programme this month, and its grand prize – the Vista Ridge pipeline project for San Antonio in Texas – looks certain to...
  • Another Spanish construction giant restructuring its finances this month is FCC. The new deal (which is the second refinancing in 15 months) makes Mexican oligarch Carlos Slim the largest shareholder in the company with...
  • Acciona is feeling the heat in Catalunya, where its €1 billion 50-year ATLL bulk water concession for the Barcelona metropolitan area seems to be ploughing deeper into a legal and political quagmire...
  • Agbar is also having a hard time in Catalunya. It suffered a body blow this month with the annulment by Catalunya’s high court of its 35-year Aguas de Barcelona concession, controversially awarded in 2012 without an open tender...
  • Political pressure on private water concessions has been growing across Iberia. Portugal’s new Socialist government has acted swiftly to fulfil an electoral pledge to help Portuguese municipalities renegotiate flawed municipal concession contracts...
Private resources
  • Water investors are positive about a flurry of privately financed desalination and wastewater treatment contracts in the GCC area, despite crumbling credit ratings across the region...
  • The $62.6 billion draft 2017 State Water Plan for Texas – released for public comment earlier this month – showcases a wealth of desalination and advanced wastewater treatment opportunities, as the state looks to diversify away from a historical reliance on surface water sources...
  • Japan is tendering its first privately financed municipal wastewater treatment plant. It could be the start of something big: prime minister Shinzo Abe has called for twelve privately financed water and wastewater projects to be signed by March 2017...
Results round-up
  • Veolia reported strong profit growth (+25.5%) on weak sales growth (+1.4%) for the year ending 31 December 2015 (see table above). The water part of the business performed less well overall, with revenues down 1.7%, largely because of... 
  • Suez was less upbeat, posting a small decline in net profit after minority interests. Nevertheless, its European water business put in a robust performance, driven by growth in its non-concession services business and...
  • Of the Americans, both the major investor-owned utilities (American Water and Aqua America) put in solid performances, with American enjoying an extra fillip as a result of joining the S&P500...
  • Hyflux posted a 39% increase in revenue, boosted by its work on the Qurayyat desalination project in Oman and its containerised plant for Yanbu in Saudi Arabia. Going forward, the company said that it is continuing to explore...

Project Tracker

Project Tracker

Charting the progress of over 900 Desal, Reuse and PPP water projects in the international water industry.

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Latest Tracker Updates

Project Tracker Database
(Subscription Requried)
Sterling Nat... United States 20 Jul 18 The Arcadis/Ba... Reuse
Okhla WWTP India 20 Jul 18 The bid submis... WWTP
FGUA O&M, FL United States 20 Jul 18 The shortlist ... Utility
Michelson WR... United States 20 Jul 18 At its meeting... Reuse
Los Alisos M... United States 20 Jul 18 At its meeting... Reuse

What's making the news in global water projects this month

Project tracker

Texas pushes inland desal and reuse; large-scale SWRO takes off in Africa; Japanese concessions loom; Oman’s desal boom continues; the tail that wags the dog in California; Saudi NWC outlines chunky BOT pipeline; all the latest project news from around the world this month.


GWI Water Index

Trump threatens water’s ace performance

A mixed full-year results season was somewhat overshadowed by the US presidential race this month. Hyflux, meanwhile, was up to its old tricks.

Water on the markets this month:

GWI IndexValueChangeDate
Global Water154.54-3.56%10 Jun
Asian Water104.62-6.53%10 Jun
EMEA Water90.98-3.01%10 Jun
Americas Water245.89-2.12%10 Jun

The List

The top 50 water systems integrators

This month’s list ranks systems integrators by their revenues estimated to the nearest $100 million. S=plant supplier; T=technology provider; O=operator; F=financier.


Christopher gasson Can we make water safe for money?

Christopher Gasson looks at different ways of making the most of the surge in demand for private finance in the water sector.

Chart of the month

Chart of the month: Cost recovery

This month’s chart uses data from the World Bank's IB-Net database to show the extent to which cost recovery is achieved in different countries.

Chart of the month cost recovery


Texas sets out its water needs for the next 50 years

The 2017 State Water Plan will define Texas’ water resourcing future. A number of new initiatives are set to change the economics of brackish water desalination in the state.

Enviro Water Minerals takes a progressive approach to mining desal brine

A start-up systems integrator has teamed up with Veolia in a bid to change the economics of brackish water desalination in the US. What is the value proposition?

Mexico’s revamped water law could pave the way for more PSP

Revised legislation aimed at improving service delivery in the Mexican water market could encourage more municipalities to bring in private sector expertise. Ongoing challenges mean that it is not a market for the opportunistic.

Debra coy The big data crunch

The promise of big data is meeting big political reality, says Debra Coy. The options are to embrace, adapt, or be left behind.

Americas Water In Brief

Evoqua Water Technologies has agreed to acquire Neptune Benson, which itself has built up a portfolio of water filtration and disinfection products via a series of acquisitions.

Asia pacific

Japan looks to private sector to rejuvenate its utilities

The number of cities courting the private sector is growing in Abe’s Japan. Weak public finances, ageing infrastructure and dwindling demand are all driving outsourcing.

Haryana protestors expose Delhi’s water insecurity with canal sabotage

Delhi’s precarious raw water supply situation was brought to the world’s attention last month when a violent protest in Haryana state cut off 60% of the city’s water supply. With politics blocking inter-state transfers, tackling non-revenue water and reuse will take priority.

Indonesian utility debt write-off imminent

A 20-year battle to restructure the financial position of Indonesian drinking water utilities is approaching its final stages as the Ministry of Finance prepares a total debt write-off. The VP hopes that utilities can then start borrowing again and plough $2.5 billion into water.

South Australia considers private finance for wastewater reuse expansion

The state water utility is examining two schemes which would help achieve its goal of doubling the volume of water it recycles.

Willy yeo Big Dreams on Ice

Willy Yeo examines the colourful accounting practices which could come back to haunt Chinese project developers.

Asia Water In Brief

The share price of Malaysian infrastructure operator Ranhill Holdings fell 16% on its first day of trading on 16 March, despite the final IPO price of MYR1.20 representing a 30% discount to the initial offer, which was only 13% subscribed.


Green lending rises as EBRD boosts environmental stance

A greater commitment to environmental sustainability is already feeding through to the EBRD’s water lending programme. Will it translate into more bankable PPPs?

EBRD scales up Central Asia water lending as oil crisis bites

The EBRD almost doubled its lending to the Central Asian water sector last year. Mongolia, Turkmenistan, and industrial clients are next on the expansion list.

Aragón forced to re-evaluate wastewater concessions plan

The authorities in Aragón have accused previous administrations of over-mortgaging the region by forcing through a series of wastewater BOTs. With compliance deadlines looming, how will the remainder of the infrastructure be procured?

Slim fattens FCC’s coffers ahead of strategic operational review

The Spanish group’s largest shareholder has made a takeover offer after accumulating more than 30% of the company’s equity. It is the precursor to a comprehensive strategic review which could strengthen the hand of the Aqualia water division.

ATLL concession saga takes a new twist as secession looms

Acciona’s grip on its 50-year water concession in Barcelona appears to be slipping, following a recent vote in the Catalan parliament. What are the possible outcomes?

New debt ceiling raises stakes for municipal buyouts

Marubeni could be rueing its decision to enter the Portuguese water sector.

English majors bulk up to defend against the creep of competition

A new alliance between Severn Trent and United Utilities has been interpreted as a defensive move against attempts by the regulator to introduce competition into bigger segments of the water business. Will the strategy work?

Facing the burning question

Not all water start-ups are destined to swallow vast amounts of capital before gaining commercial momentum. Software-as-a-service providers could fare better than most.

David lloyd owen A capital (spending) idea

We can have safe water for all – if all are prepared to pay for it, argues David Lloyd Owen.

Europe Water In Brief

Aster Capital has hired Gaëtane Suzenet to head up a new water investment fund focusing on smart water initiatives and cutting-edge treatment solutions.

Middle East and Africa

Gulf countries defy ratings in push for private finance

Despite growing financial worries over the impact of dropping oil prices in the GCC, more and more privately financed projects are being brought onto the market. Will the difficult financial climate prove too much for investors?

Jordan dips its toes into the sea

Firms are circling round the world’s most prominent desalination scheme. The country’s first ever seawater desalination plant will provide some technical insights.

Northern emirates of the UAE join the race for independent desal plants

The utility serving the northern parts of the United Arab Emirates has become the latest to look to tap into private finance by starting tendering for its first independent water plant (IWP) at Umm al Quwain.

Saudi NWC turns back to BOTs

The National Water Company is looking for private investment on a plant-by-plant basis, despite the fact that its long-term city concession plans are still in place.

Tom scotney Steering clear of the ground

Tom Scotney asks whether the benefits of new groundwater exploitation schemes in Saudi Arabia outweigh the risks.

Middle East Water In Brief

Israeli drip filtration company Netafim has signed a $200 million deal to supply irrigation equipment to the Ethiopian government’s sugar company.

Egypt tackles currency trap as PPP plans gather steam

The first agreement has been signed on the largest infrastructure build-out for decades in Egypt, while a parallel currency devaluation aims to sweeten the deal for international investors. Will the developers already in place in Egypt lose out?

Calibrating the role of mobile technology in Africa’s water future

Water utilities in sub-Saharan Africa have lagged behind when it comes to seeing the benefits of mobile technology, but the market is catching up fast. What are the barriers to adoption?