Insights

What are the real economics of smart water networks?

Our report on Smart Water Networks is published this week. Smart networks are one of the fastest growing global markets for water technology, with a compound annual growth rate estimated to be 13.9%. Between 2013 and 2018, the market is expected to grow from $3.6 billion to $6.9 billion.

Despite this generally rosy outlook, the economics of the sector are far from...

A dozen years ‘til doomsday in Saudi Arabia?

How many years will it take for subsidised water and power to destroy the Saudi Arabian economy? The consensus answer from this week’s Saudi Water and Power Forum seemed to be that the country has another 12 years before the sector’s appetite for oil, gas and capital expenditure overwhelms the national finances. By 2025, so much oil and gas production will...

Is water risk enough, or do we need to talk profit, too?

It is nice to see that we have William Ambrose, head of risk at Norges Bank Investment Management, confirmed for the opening session of the Global Water Summit in Paris next April. NBIM – aka the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund – is the largest global investor in the stock market, holding an average of around 1% of every quoted company in the world. Except...

“The pilot project is always a success, but the roll-out never comes”

I first heard this unwritten rule of the water industry at Stockholm Water Week. A water NGO staffer was bemoaning the fact that they spend their whole lives developing projects which are supposed to be the solution to the world’s water crisis, but despite their apparent success, the follow-up never comes.

I was reminded of this sentiment in Tokyo this week at the...

From hunter-gatherers to technology cultivators

I have been in Washington, D.C. this week for the American Water Summit. The overall mood has been pretty gloomy, thanks to the fact that the market shrank again this year, and the general uncertainty in the wake of last month's budget stand-off.

I can't say that I added to the mood with my presentation, which was looking at how the water sector should behave if one...

National champions winning the race to Schaffhausen

What should a national strategy to expand water industry exports look like? It is a question I have been thinking about in Tokyo this week, where I have been attending the Japan Management Association/Inchem trade show. I gave a paper on Japan’s global water strategy, but Japan is far from the only country to want to promote its water sector exports. Israel, the...