Global Water Intelligence Magazine

Apr 18 cover

Vol 19, Issue 4 (April 2018)

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In Global Water Intelligence this month

Need to know

The global water market in numbers

This graphic comes from our recently published report, Financing Water to 2030. It illustrates the capital flows in the sector, and shows that around 7% of...

  • Saur has mandated Morgan StanleyBNP Paribas and Natixis to co-ordinate the sale of a majority stake in the group’s equity, and plans to send an information memorandum to around 20 prospective bidders on 23 April...
  • So who will buy Saur? It has got a nice digital offering which enables it to run small community water systems efficiently. Given that struggling sub-scale utilities are a problem the world over, there is a huge potential market for Saur’s expertise outside of France. The best buyer will be someone who can capitalise on this, rather than simply wave the Tricolore. Our top pick would be...
  • Private equity titan KKR might have been a possible buyer of Saur, but it seems to be pulling out of water...
  • Australian infrastructure manager IFM Investors might be another name to put in the hat for Saur. It has just signed a €1,024 million deal to acquire a 49% stake in FCC Aqualia...
  • Madrid’s scandal-hit public water company, Canal Isabel II, has mandated Santander to oversee the sale of its sprawling portfolio of non-core water interests...
Paint it black
  • Blackstone has backtracked on its mega-infrastructure investment vehicle, and is now reportedly seeking to raise $15 billion, as opposed to the $40 billion it had touted less than a year ago...
  • US asset manager Black-Rock, meanwhile, is understood to the mystery majority equity partner on Consolidated Water’s upcoming desalination project at Rosarito in Mexico...
World water forum readies to rally in Dakar in 2021

World Water Council chairman Benedito Braga (in red tie) presented the Council’s flag to the president of the organising committee of the 9th World Water Forum, Abdoulaye Sene (in white hat), at the closing ceremony of the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia last month. The 9th Forum will take place in Dakar, Senegal in 2021... 

The pressure's on
  • The market for long-term integrated 24/7 water supply contracts in India is attracting increasing interest from international private water operators...
  • In China, specialist wastewater treatment services for industrial parks look set to be a growth market, as higher regulatory standards for discharge into public sewers start to bite... 
  • Aquarion AG has raised €15 million of new money via a convertible loan from the Sustainable Growth Fund. It is a new beginning for the company, whose development has often looked like a game of snakes and ladders...
  • Infrastructure investor Ancala Partners has acquired a mature PFI (private finance initiative) contract serving Ministry of Defence sites in Wales and southern England. In February, the firm – which likes to think of itself as having an ultra long-term investment horizon – snapped up Portsmouth Water...
Fast and slow
  • Saudi Arabia’s Water and Electricity Company is moving ahead rapidly with the list of projects it wants to tender to private developers... 
  • State-owned industrial utility groups in the Middle East are increasingly joining project development consortia as the sheer volume of PPP projects in the pipeline creates opportunities for operators... 
  • Meanwhile, at a much slower pace, the Libyan desalination market is grinding back into action. The Beidabased “Tobruk government” is reported to have issued a letter of credit to VA Tech Wabag to enable it to start building a 13,333m3/d thermal desal unit...
  • Egypt, too, wants to increase its municipal desalination capacity...

Project Tracker

Project Tracker

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

Download a sample

Latest Tracker Updates

Project Tracker Database
(Subscription Requried)
Inland Empir... United States 17 Aug 18 This project w... Reuse
Stock Island... United States 17 Aug 18 This project w... Desal
Jackson Coun... United States 17 Aug 18 This project w... Reuse
Louisville b... United States 17 Aug 18 This project w... WWTP
Northwest WT... United States 17 Aug 18 This project w... WTP

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


GWI Water Index

Index slips back on China woes

Beijing Enterprises Water Group’s full-year results acted as something of a barometer of sentiment in the wider Chinese water market this month. To what extent is it now a ‘buy’?

Water on the markets this month:

GWI IndexValueChangeDate
Global Water151.95-1.68%10 Jul
Asian Water97.61-6.70%10 Jul
EMEA Water89.43-1.70%10 Jul
Americas Water247.320.58%10 Jul

The List


Christopher gasson The end of cheap money

Christopher Gasson looks at how China sets the world price of water.

Chart of the month

Predicting global tariff rises

This month’s chart comes from our latest report, Financing Water to 2030.

Chart of the month april 2018


Water Leaders

Introducing the Leading Utilities of the World

Last month the Global Water Leaders’ Group launched a new initiative to highlight the achievements of the top performing utilities in the world. It has ambitions to change the way the water industry works.

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

American & Efird seamlessly steps up its reuse and recycling efforts

US thread and textiles mammoth American & Efird boasts industry-leading sustainability practices, including water reuse systems. As concerns and regulations around water issues in the sector rise across the world, GWI discovers how it plans to stay ahead of the curve.

Smart Water Watch

Water security: utilities face up to a new type of threat

As digital and connected technologies become commonplace in distribution networks and treatment plants, water utilities are increasingly becoming targets of cybercrime. Utilities will have to conform with new security regulations or face unforgiving penalties.

CTO Outlook

Acciona’s automation dreams for desal

Acciona Agua has put an ever-stronger emphasis on digital technologies in its business as it looks to keep one step ahead in an increasingly competitive EPC market. GWI talks to its digital leads Alejandro Beivide and Frank Zamora to hear more about the strategy. 

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


Proactive contract operators fend off stagnant growth

2017 was an eventful year for private water operators in North America, but the market has presented few new opportunities for growth. What are the top players doing about it?

Bidding consortia regroup as Silicon Valley reuse P3 moves forward

Three new teams have joined the list of groups vying for a landmark indirect potable reuse project in California. The recalibration of the previously pre-qualified consortia is equally interesting.

A new paradigm for private desal in Mexico

The signing of a funding commitment for a new SWRO plant at San Quintín marks a major step forward for Mexican desal infrastructure.

Performance bonds poised to go mainstream

A ‘pay for success’ model pioneered in Washington, DC which hedges the risks associated with green stormwater infrastructure will soon be replicated in Atlanta and Baltimore. More cities are poised to follow suit.

Attacks drive cybersecurity to the fore for US water utilities

A cybersecurity alert issued by the US government last month was swiftly followed by a crippling ransomware attack on the City of Atlanta. As the water sector increasingly embraces the Internet of Things, the risks of cyberattacks are becoming more acute.

Wesstrickland Pitching the rate of return

Legislators and public rate-setters need to make sure they do not price out successful utilities in California, says Wes Strickland.

Americas in brief

American Water’s pending $365 million purchase of domestic warranty business Pivotal Home Solutions will bolster its homeowner services division by adding a further 1.2 million customer contracts across 18 states. American raised 2.32 million new shares at $80.50 each to part-fund the deal.

Asia pacific

India’s outsourced operations market reaches maturity

The evolution of 24/7 water supply projects in India has resulted in a steady pipeline of long-term performance-linked O&M opportunities. Who is best placed in this market?

Chinese industrial park users weigh up their options for wastewater treatment

Over half of China’s industrial parks rely on municipal WWTPs to treat their wastewater flows. Industries will increasingly be required to install their own effluent treatment facilities in order to meet higher discharge standards.

Willy yeo Making it CITIC

Willy Yeo reveals his new favourite Chinese water company.

Asia in brief

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) released its ‘Strategy on Mobilizing Private Capital for Infrastructure’ this month, setting itself the long-term goal of becoming a ‘go-to’ institution for infrastructure financing solutions in emerging markets.


Aquarion AG to beef up M&A activity ahead of 2019 IPO

A new €15 million loan will help the industrial water specialist to reach the critical mass it needs before going public next year. Recurring revenues are a key part of the strategy.

Saur to retain tight control over sale process as majority stake goes on the block

The French company’s major shareholders are preparing to sell the bulk of the company by the end of 2018. Management has put a series of measures in place to avoid a repeat of 2013, when the group was brought to its knees by a creaking debt load.

IFM diversifies its European water portfolio

A 49% stake in Aqualia will give IFM its first new water investment since 2006. It is already lining up the next deal.

Ancala expands its water footprint in the UK

The London-based infrastructure investor has taken on both regulated and non-regulated water assets in the UK. Where can it go next?

EnviroChemie targets UK industry

An opportunistic acquisition has brought the company a new blue-chip client base.

UK valve start-up targets ambitious growth

A new funding round will enable university spin-out Oxford Flow to reach a larger customer base. It is already eyeing more capital.

ACS to fund desal and reuse with green bond

While desal projects dragged the ‘green’ component of a new bond down, a hydro-powered reuse plant in Peru achieved a perfect 100.

Ofwat sets out its strategy for curbing excessive returns

The regulator’s incumbent chairman was one of the major beneficiaries of financial engineering when he served as CEO of Anglian Water. Now he is under pressure from government to ensure companies share any financial outperformance with customers.

Europe in brief

Suez Ventures has taken a stake in digital water start-up Hydrelis, which measures and controls water leakage in buildings using machine learning technology.

David lloyd owen An appetite for data collection

Smartphones can address the data drought holding back the achievement of contamination targets, says David Lloyd Owen.

Middle East and Africa

WEC prepares for PPP take-off

Saudi Arabia’s central water offtaker has published RFPs for two major new projects in the last month: the Shuqaiq 3 IWP and the Jeddah Airport 2 ISTP. The deal flow is set to crank up further as it takes on more responsibilities.

Glut of PPP projects brings new state-owned players to the market

International project developers are struggling against suppressed returns on project equity due to the number of project opportunities. New developers are stepping up.

Egypt lays out its 20-year desalination plans

The country wants to increase its portfolio more than sixfold by 2037. The process of expansion is already well underway.

Rise in UAE water demand leads to boom for private wastewater concessionaire

One of the region’s most groundbreaking concessions is set to double in size, courtesy of its first expansion since being signed in 2004. Growing sales of treated sewage effluent will play a key role for concessionaire Tanqia.

Fragmented Libyan authorities push desal

The need and the appetite for desalination in the troubled country is intense. The ability to deliver the infrastructure is less clear.

New fund to boost African non-sewer sanitation

Piped sanitation is a pipe dream for many African cities. A new fund could make the alternatives much more palatable.

Progressive African cities learn from RASOP’s fable

A series of bankable non-sewer sanitation projects has emerged from a programme designed to inspire African cities to clean up.

Middle East in brief

Egyptian contracting giant Orascom Construction has cited growth in its water division as a key driver behind positive 2017 results.

Tom scotney Looking past the end of history

Tom Scotney looks at the surprise impact of Abu Dhabi’s utility restructuring – and why the private sector shouldn’t be downbeat.