Insights

Let’s make this just the beginning for desal

I am standing for the board of the International Desalination Association. The voting process starts this week. It is not the best moment for the Association. As the desalination industry has struggled to recover its momentum, it has become progressively riven by internal conflict: between the board and the paid staff, between supporters of the Makhzoumi family (whose...

Stopping the invasion of the fleshmongers

So CH2M is not going to do anything interesting with the money it raised from Apollo Capital Management in 2015-16. Instead, it is going the way of MWH Global, Atkins, and Amec Foster Wheeler to become another redundant brand left on the roadside by the juggernaut of engineering industry consolidation. It is difficult not to feel disappointed. CH2M is one of the best....

Is private water 96% ownership and 4% expertise?

Two sales in the US market over the past month make a very expressive point about where value lies in the utility sector. Both companies had revenues in the region of $200 million and managed water utilities and related assets. One of them, Severn Trent Services North America, did not own the assets it managed, and was sold for $62 million to two private equity buyers....

Sliding sideways to growth

This month we are publishing an update to our Global Water Market Forecast. The aim is to revisit the forecast we published in March last year in light of what has changed in the market since then. The top line doesn’t look too great. The biggest adjustment is in the US, where there has been a considerable – and unexpected – fall-off in investment,...

The ZLD system that turned its maker green

I was in Jubail (Saudi Arabia) and Alexandria (Egypt) last week to present Global Water Awards to two companies which had not been able to pick them up in Madrid last month. Marafiq is the utility serving Saudi Arabia’s two main downstream petrochemical centres, Jubail and Yanbu, while Ethydco produces a range of polyethylenes in Alexandria’s petrochemical...

Nobody knows anything, so let’s consolidate

In Hollywood they say “Nobody knows anything” with a certain amount of pride. There is a certain machismo in gambling hundreds of millions of dollars on a blockbuster new movie in the full knowledge that it may well fail.

Nobody knows anything in the water industry either, but the difference is that Hollywood goes to great lengths to preview its products...