Insights

Updated desalination market guidance

Yesterday I gave a webinar presentation outlining our new guidance for the desalination market. It involved a significant downgrade in the outlook for the current year. Instead of looking for 6.3 million m³/d of new contracted capacity in 2010, we are now expecting just 4.7 million m³/d of new capacity, 1 million m³/d of which is accounted for by the Ras Azzour project...

Thinking of buying Potash Corporation? Try water

It is not immediately obvious, but BHP Billiton’s bid for Potash Corporation highlights the opportunity ahead for the water sector. The thinking behind the $39 billion bid is that there is a growing shortage of the mineral at the very moment that agricultural demand is accelerating.

If you are a natural resources company like BHP, and you want to invest to...

Would water rights trading work for Saudi Arabia?

There is an argument that there would be less need for desalination or water reuse in Saudi Arabia if only there was a developed market for water rights. The problem with water is not that it is running out, but that too much of it is being used in the wrong places. If there was a market mechanism to transfer water from low-value agricultural uses to high-value urban...

Drinking from your mobile phone

The water industry has a lot to learn from the mobile phone industry about reaching low-income countries. In many ways, the two services face the same challenges. Both have relatively high fixed costs with a large infrastructure component, and low variable costs. The big difference between the two businesses is that one has been dramatically more successful than the...

The human right to a national water plan

The United Nations voted 124 to zero in favour of recognising a human right to water yesterday. When an issue is as one-sided as that you know from the start that it is likely to be totally meaningless.

That does not seem to have deterred the self-proclaimed “global water justice movement”. The press release from the Council of Canadians begins: “After...

Wind-powered water week in Singapore

I was in Singapore for Water Week last week. The event is in its third year, and is still growing. The organisers announced record overall attendance of more than 14,000 people, with the total value of deals announced at the show rising from US$1.6 billion in 2009 to US$2.0 billion this year.

The secret of this success has been to tie in all the engineers and major...