Global Water Intelligence Magazine

Aug 17 cover

Vol 18, Issue 8 (August 2017)

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In Global Water Intelligence this month

Need to know

  • The consolidation of the US engineering sector has moved up a gear with the announcement of a deal for Jacobs to buy CH2M. Jacobs needed the deal to help diversify...
  • The other big deal this month was the merger of the two largest companies providing water services to the North American unconventional oil and gas industry. Select Energy Services and Rockwater Services will combine...
  • The weakness of sterling and the prospect of a tough regulatory settlement for the 2020- 2025 period are making investors in the UK water sector start to move towards the exit. It is proving difficult to find...
  • As continued weak economic performance weighs on Brazil’s public sector finances, opportunities are opening up for private investors. On 15 August, Brazilian federal bank BNDES awarded...
  • Meanwhile, the São Paulo state governor is looking to raise cash by selling shares in a holding company, which in turn would own the state’s 50.3% stake in state water utility Sabesp. The other 49.7%...
  • The IVM consortium responsible for building the troubled Ashdod desalination plant in Israel has offered to buy the project from its client, Mekorot Development & Enterprise. The deal would enable Sadyt and its partner Minrav Holdings to...
  • The City of Corpus Christi received approval for $2.8 million of state funding towards developing a desalination plant. Although a plant is undoubtedly needed in the Gulf coast city, it is still far from clear who should be developing it. There are now four...
  • Hyflux is contemplating a separate listing for its supposedly fast-growing consumer water business, while looking for co-investors in its infrastructure development activities. A vaguely worded...
  • Besides looking for co-investors to share the load in financing water and power projects, Hyflux has also outsourced a range of engineering activities to local firm...
  • Yeo’s column also highlights the turmoil at UES Holdings, where unexpectedly heavy cash outflows on project development have led to the departure of...
  • These Singapore-based companies are not the only ones looking for extra capital. The growing magnitude of public-private partnerships in China means that developers there are also looking for... 
  • At the end of July, Newater Technology became the first Chinese water technology company to stage an IPO on a US exchange since 2009. It is a sign that three things have changed. First, the differential...
  • Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are pushing ahead with big new desalination plant proposals. The Saudi Water and Electricity Company is accepting expressions of interest from developers for a new...
  • The process for restructuring and privatising Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company and the related Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture directorates is moving ahead, following the submission...
  • Abengoa is moving forward with a contract to expand its 100,000m3/d Agadir desalination plant to...
  • Mexican plastic pipe producer Mexichem has bought an 80% stake in Israeli drip irrigation specialist Netafim in a deal that values the business at $...
  • As infrastructure investment fails to keep pace with demand, there is certainly an argument for selling waterrelated products and services directly to the public. One company which has found growth in this market is NYSE-listed...

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)
Hassyan SWRO... United Arab Emirates 21 Sep 18 The client has... Desal
Canoas WWTP Colombia 21 Sep 18 Proposals for ... Reuse
Lake Station... United States 20 Sep 18 The Indiana Ut... Utility
Sun Country ... United States 20 Sep 18 The bid submis... Utility
East Brandyw... United States 20 Sep 18 Sealed bids ar... Utility

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

Project tracker

Iran’s desal plans take off; FEWA resurrects projects; Fresh impetus for Lima PPP; Phosphorus – the fourth ‘P’; Miami-Dade tackles ocean outfalls; Corpus Christi’s fragmented desal agenda; Mexico’s desal wave; California embraces satellite reuse; all the latest...


GWI Water Index

Hung, drawn and quartered

A flat month for the GWI Global Water Index belied a complex array of catalysts which resulted in many stocks falling on the back of weaker than expected quarterly results.

Water on the markets this month:

GWI IndexValueChangeDate
Global Water154.911.95%10 Aug
Asian Water98.010.41%10 Aug
EMEA Water91.372.17%10 Aug
Americas Water253.642.56%10 Aug

The List

Private equity-backed water companies

There are a mix of infrastructure funds, buy-out funds, and growth investors backing the water sector. Who are the main players?


Christopher gasson Regulation by murder rap

Christopher Gasson asks whether there’s a better way to regulate water.

Chart of the month


Which parts of the world are suffering worst from drought this year?

Chart of the month


Water Leaders

Leading water’s fightback against climate change in Southern California

While the state-wide drought in California eased last year, the picture in the south is as tough as ever. With wildfires raging and utilities under pressure, Metropolitan Water District boss Jeff Kightlinger tells GWI’s Samantha Yates how the region plans to build its way out of drought.

Being the best in the world is not our job

Singapore PUB’s chief executive Peter Ng has another goal in mind: being the best for Singapore. It means pursuing impossible performance targets, pushing the boundaries of technology, and still worrying about how to win the trust of customers.




Chief Technology Officer

User Perspectives

Puma takes the lead with supply chain sustainability strategy

The ubiquitous German sportswear brand is at the forefront of the changes being brought about in the textiles industry. GWI probes its relationship with a vast supply chain and its plans to coordinate a major evolution in water and wastewater treatment techniques.

Smart Water Watch

Innovyze touts asset management as the next big thing

The hydraulic modelling specialist is taking on the biggest trends in the digital water industry. What opportunities does it see away from its traditional areas of expertise?

CTO Outlook

A dual approach to innovating in water

Hitachi’s water business unit is trying to make a splash in desalination and the digital sector. GWI talks to its technology advisor Koichi Tsuzuki about the company’s two-pronged strategy of innovative treatment techniques and harnessing the Internet of Things.

See the latest technology updates on the Chief Technology Officer Homepage...


Jacobs targets global water growth with CH2M acquisition

With a full suite of capabilities, Jacobs Engineering intends to leverage CH2M’s water expertise across its global client base. How much of the old CH2M will remain intact?

Who is next for consolidation?

The logic of engineering firm mergers is becoming inexorable as US infrastructure spending flatlines. Christopher Gasson wonders who will be next to make a move.

Select-Rockwater merger aims to capitalise on shift in demand for oilfield water services

The merger of the two largest oilfield water service specialists in North America is expected to create a $1.2 billion-a-year firm with the scale and balance sheet to capitalise on the transformation of oilfield water management. Will a bet on the new shale boom pay off?

Seawater desal projects compete to supply industrial boom on the Texas coast

Four separate seawater desalination projects in Corpus Christi are vying to meet increasing industrial water needs on the Gulf coast. With multiple stakeholders and local political interests at play, collaboration will be the key to success.

Suez gets pro-active in the US outsourcing market

The loss of three key contracts in the US has put Suez under renewed pressure to restore backlog. A pro-active approach is already yielding results.

Analysts question Sabesp capital hike

Is a mooted capital increase really necessary for the São Paulo operator?

BNDES set to fast-track Cedae privatisation process

A consultancy team has been appointed to structure the sell-off of Rio de Janeiro’s state water operator ahead of next year’s elections. The supreme court could yet block the sale.

Wesstrickland There’s no case for chrome

Wes Strickland weighs in on the battle between state water quality regulations and the burden of cost for small systems in the US.

Americas water in brief

Moody’s has upgraded the credit ratings of listed Brazilian water concessionaires Copasa and Sanepar by one notch, to Ba3 and Ba2, respectively, on the back of positive tariff reviews.

A. O. Smith targets accelerated growth in key point-of-use water treatment markets

The water heater manufacturer is investing heavily to take its filtration systems to a wider audience, both in the US and in selected emerging markets. While the top line is growing rapidly, the margins will take some time to catch up with the rest of the business.

BREWing up a new generation of water technologies

A. O. Smith has invested in two water start-ups as part of the Milwaukee-based BREW Accelerator programme. It is evidence of the company’s deepening interest in water.

Asia pacific

Hyderabad’s water dreams held back by pumping costs

The water utility in India’s fifth-largest city is battling to grow both its water and sewerage coverage, even as power costs eat away at its revenues. NRW reduction will be key.

Chinese water returns to fashion in New York with Newater IPO

The arrival of a new industrial wastewater treatment technology specialist from China has been greeted enthusiastically by Nasdaq investors. Have New Yorkers’ views of the corporate governance risks in Chinese companies changed?

China’s new model for PPPs prompts BEWG to look for third-party financing

Water treatment companies in China are transiting to “asset-light” strategies by using third-party financing to meet the heavy capital needs of ever larger PPP projects. The trend is pushing water companies to build their profit into construction and equipment contracts.

Hyflux mulls group split as financial losses grow

Hyflux is evaluating options for the future ownership of the group. Could a spin-off of its consumer business be followed by a new financial partner for the infrastructure arm?

Willy yeo Dramatic drubbings

Willy Yeo shares his views on the recent tumultuous events at two of Singapore’s leading water companies.

Asia Pacific water in brief

Canadian engineer WSP Global has agreed to acquire New Zealand-based consultancy Opus International for NZ$263.2 million (US$191 million).


French majors diverge as Veolia boosts global growth

The half-year results of the two largest private water groups show that while both suffered from a slowdown in construction activity, Veolia was more successful at attracting international business. Suez is already fighting back aggressively.

UK regulated water starts to lose its shine for foreign investors

Unfavourable currency movements and increasing regulatory pressures are convincing more and more foreign holders of UK water assets to consider moving on. Who will pick up the slack?

Sizing up Anglian Water’s green bond debut

The first green bond to emerge from the UK water sector attracted £800 million of appetite from investors keen to see their money put to work funding projects which mitigate and adapt to climate change. Was it worth all the trouble?

David lloyd owen Towards safer water

A more realistic approach to water and sanitation assessment criteria helps in making sensible changes, says David Lloyd Owen.

Europe water in brief

Nijhuis Industries has agreed to acquire UK-based Aquatic Water Services.

Middle East and Africa

Saudi Arabia starts work on third water PPP pillar

The Kingdom’s latest move to foster more private sector participation in the utility sphere looks at public-facing municipal water and wastewater services. It will have to contend with a legacy of delays in municipal water PPPs.

Builders put up first offer to Mekorot to buy Ashdod desalination project

IVM has fired the first shot in the sale of the troubled Ashdod plant, with the construction team looking to take over the plant it built. With disputes over responsibility for construction problems and the cost of repairs still ongoing, there will be no easy solution.

Desal for farmers makes its mark

A new project being developed by Abengoa in Morocco marks the first major use of seawater desalination for agricultural use. How does the financing work?

Tom scotney Winning the recycling race

Saudi Arabia needs to balance the needs of different types of investors when it comes to capital recycling, says Tom Scotney.

Middle East water in brief

The Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority are planning a feasibility study into the creation of a strategic water connection between their respective potable water networks.