Insights

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...

Six things I learned at the IDA World Congress in Tianjin

1) China’s desalination industry is not ready for take-off. There are three main obstacles. First, the restrictions on discharges in Bohai Bay make it difficult to build desal plants in the very region where they are needed most. Second, the off-takers seem rather disorganised: they seem to build plants before they have worked out when they will need the water or...

Can water escape the infrastructure finance model?

Is the public infrastructure finance model irreparably broken? It is something one has to consider when one looks at the collapse of public spending on infrastructure across Europe and North America. The thought also seems to have history on its side.

Most governments think about public infrastructure as something that benefits everyone, but is either free or subsidised...

How does the water-energy nexus translate into $$$?

The water-energy nexus has been one of the key themes in the water industry over the last four years. But what has it done for us? On the face of it, no one is doing that well in the water industry at the moment. The French and the Spanish are struggling. Xylem has just lost its CEO. Siemens Water is on the block.

There is one company which is quietly doing rather...

What can we learn from Unilever about selling water?

I have been in Stockholm for the International Water Week these past few days. It is the place where NGOs, aid agencies, and academics go to trade ideas and fish for money. In the good old days, the kings of the place were the big bilateral donors, but no one in the public sector seems so generous these days. The new royalty at Stockholm are the corporate social...

When does rolling up the water sector make sense?

The reputation of Dick Heckmann, the impresario behind USFilter, sports equipment company K2 and Nuverra (the oil and gas water services business formerly known as Heckmann Corporation) has come under heavy fire recently.

First, as a result of the Siemens Water Technologies sale, there has been a lot more interest in what value was generated by the USFilter roll-up (SWT...