Insights

Nine things I learned at the 2015 Global Water Summit

1) Water has a big future in the circular economy: Yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur seemed to come top of everyone’s list of favourite speakers at the event, but it wasn’t her frightening account of racing through the Southern Ocean to be the fastest solo sailor around the world that caught people’s imagination. It was what she did next: set up the Ellen...

An unusual dilemma: sex crimes and global warming

It looks like we lost a speaker for next week’s Global Water Summit in the Indian High Court this morning. Rajendra Pachauri, the former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been refused permission to travel while he is under investigation for alleged sexual harassment of a member of staff at the Energy and Resources Institute, where he...

The battle for desalination technology moves on

We are publishing our new Desalination Markets report today. It is the fourth edition of the report, but there has been a five-year hiatus since we last published anything this comprehensive on the subject. In part, that is because the market has been going in the wrong direction for the past five years, and I always prefer to publish reports on growing markets.

The...

Corporate water risk and burned-out wind turbines

I was in Johannesburg on Monday this week for a Water4Growth workshop with local industrial water users. We had a good turnout representing a cross-section of South African industry, including Eskom, Anglo American, Nestlé, and BMW. The idea of Water4Growth, which is an initiative of the Global Water Leaders Group, is to create a platform to engage industrial...

Where is the action in today’s global water market?

It has always been my belief that the water business is always growing, but at any one time some parts of it may be going backwards and others racing ahead. The trick is to position your business where the action is.

It is much easier to tell where the market has moved away from than where it has moved to. Low oil and minerals prices have put the dampeners on demand for...

Will sewers still exist in the city of the future?

I have been thinking about this question as part of my work for the Global Agenda Council on Water for the World Economic Forum. We have been tasked with developing a new model for water access which encompasses the whole cycle, from source to wastewater return. Water access on its own is a big challenge, but when you add wastewater it dramatically increases the cost...