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Water and Wastewater Treatment Technologies: Global Markets

  • November 2016
  • 429 pages
  • BCC Research
Report ID: 461664


Table of Contents

This WWT report by BCC Research examines wastewater treatment technologies and presents forecast through 2021 for products used to construct and maintain WWT systems.

Use this report to:
- Evaluate the demand for 15 generic types of products commonly used by owners and operators of water and wastewater treatment facilities in 136 countries.
- Forecast data for products such as pipes and fittings; pumps; valves and controls; activated sludge, anaerobic digestion; nutrient removal; sedimentation; advanced treatment equipment etc.
- Statistically analyze water use data collected from 1965 to 2016 to identify leading indicators of demand for 15 types of products required to construct and maintain WWT facilities.

- The global market for water and wastewater technology should reach $92 billion by 2021 from $72 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0%, from 2016 to 2021.
- The delivery equipment market for water and wastewater technology should reach $32 billion by 2021 from $25 billion in 2016 at a CAGR of 5.1%, from 2016 to 2021.
- The instrumentation market for water and wastewater technology should reach $12 billion by 2021 from $9 billion in 2016 at a CAGR of 5.9%, from 2016 to 2021.

Newspaper headlines and television documentaries warn us that humanity is rapidly approaching a global water crisis with the potential to leave millions dead from thirst, starvation and wars over freshwater resources. Archeologists confirm this pessimism, pointing to the numerous communities that vanished when their seemingly infinite water resources disappeared. Fortunately, there is more to the story. Cities lost to water shortages are far more the exception than the rule. London, Paris, Rome, New York - indeed all of the world’s major cities - had at some point in their histories faced crises caused by an insufficient water supply or sanitation system. Each survived and continued to prosper by applying relatively simple water and wastewater treatment (WWT) technology.

Today the integration of WWT systems into the fabric of urban infrastructures is barely noticed, at least until a pipe breaks, flooding a street. It is on those rare occasions that the discovery of a section of century-old pipe reminds U.S. that the overall structure of the water and sanitation industry remains unchanged. With the exception of electric motors and digital displays, a modern water distribution system would probably be familiar to the designers of Rome’s famed aqueducts.

In this study, BCC Research examines the present status of WWT systems in 136 countries for which comparable water resource data and water use data were available in the first half of 2016. For each of those countries we provide a general assessment of indicators of water availability and quality and present a 2016 through 2021 forecast for 15 generic products used to construct and maintain WWT systems.

Since BCC Research last explored the WWT market in 2013, the scientific, financial and social dynamics of the industry have profoundly changed in ways that make it necessary to re-examine its future.
From a scientific perspective, 2016 marked the release of massive new open-source datasets that made it possible to uniformly assess unmet global needs for essential water and sanitation services. Among other things, those datasets revealed that the developing world was failing to keep pace with the need for WWT infrastructure, setting the stage for future public health disasters as populations in poor rural areas continued their decade-long migration toward the economic opportunities that exist in cities.

The economic change was the unexpected shift in the potential availability of funding for infrastructure. Historically, the interest paid for the construction bonds that finance public utilities had remained too low to attract investors beyond the limited circle of those seeking a belt-and-suspenders level of security. That financial dynamic changed after the great recession of 2008, when central banks essentially flooded their nation’s economies with cheap money in an attempt to maintain low unemployment. By early 2016, central bank policies had led to a profound decline in the interest rates on government bonds, in some cases dipping to negative rates where banks charged investors to hold their money. In that unfamiliar financial environment, even the low returns from utilities became attractive.

The social change, not surprisingly, can be traced to the rise of social media as a means of bypassing the traditional gatekeepers of news. In the pre-Twitter past, the mainstream media’s coverage of public health public was largely driven by news releases issued by governmental organizations. Social media upset that pattern.
Through tweets and Facebook postings, the public was made aware of the high personal cost of inattention to the degraded condition of the invisible infrastructure upon which it relied. By the summer of 2016, a tipping point appeared near, following the revelation of long undisclosed discoveries of brain-damaging high levels of lead in water distribution systems in communities from struggling Flint, Mich., to prosperous Portland, Ore. Images of sewage-filled waters near the Rio 2016 Olympic water event venues and the discovery that the child-deforming Zika virus had reached the U.S. reinforced the growing perception that clean water and sanitation required serious attention by national political leaders.

For those familiar with the transformation of the Earth Day movement into a thriving environmental industry, the signs of sweeping change and the economic opportunity that followed in its wake had become evident.

This study evaluated the demand for 15 generic types of products commonly used by owners and operators of water and wastewater treatment facilities in 136 countries. It provides forecast data for those products, for which BCC Research projects demand will exceed $1 million annually in 2016. Products covered include pipes and fittings; pumps; valves and controls; activated sludge; anaerobic digestion; nutrient removal; sedimentation; advanced treatment equipment; primary, secondary and tertiary treatment equipment; activated carbon; aluminum sulfate; calcium hydroxide; and specialty chemicals.

Data was evaluated on water availability, water use and the use of treatment capabilities collected by national governments and compiled by organizations such as the World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Joint Monitoring Project (JMP), World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN organizations. Water use data collected as early as 1965 and as recently as 2015 was then statistically analyzed to identify leading indicators of demand for 15 types of products required to construct and maintain WWT facilities.
Using WB estimates for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), WHO estimates for population growth and FAO crop preference and production data, BCC Research projected volumetric national water demand from 2016 to 2021. Data comparable to that appearing in the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Use Table, excluding value-added components, was then used to determine product apportionment by industry. JMP data quantifying access to safe drinking water was then used to determine unmet capital equipment needs.

New capital equipment construction requirements for wastewater systems were based upon a reference case in which pollution abatement was achieved by using technical means and without the receiving water serving as a mixing zone, with the goal of achieving “fishable, swimmable” waters by 2050. Capital needs were then apportioned over the 35-year period between 2015 and 2050, taking population growth into account. From that model, we extracted product requirements from 2016 to 2021, then adjusted those values for local price variations by applying a country-specific purchasing power parity adjustment coefficient. Entries in which product demand was less than $1 million in 2021 were then discarded and the remaining values along with the 2015 baseline were then organized as tables that include five-year 2016–2021 CAGR values.

This study has been organized into eight chapters containing more than 300 tables, followed by an appendix containing a glossary of industry terminology.
- Chapter One: Introduction.
- Chapter Two: Summary.
- Chapter Three: Overview of Water Resources with Billion Dollar Plus Summary Forecasts.
- Chapter Four: Water and Wastewater Treatment Technologies.
- Chapter Five: Global Market Drivers, with Product-Group-Level Forecast.
- Chapter Six: National Market Drivers, with Product-Level Forecasts.
- Chapter Seven: Significant Water and Wastewater Patents.
- Chapter Eight: Descriptions of Key Members of the WWT Community.
- Appendix: Commonly Used EPA WWT Terminology.

This study will be of interest to those who require a greater deal of operational-level detail about the business opportunities in the WWT industry than is typically contained in global forecasts. In addition to providing useful information for senior executives within industries that manufacture WWT products, it will also improve the understanding of the “business side” of the WWT enterprise for officers in regulatory agencies and industry trade associations, traditional and special interest investors, and those involved with philanthropic organizations.

Both primary and secondary sources were used in preparing this study. BCC Research surveyed several hundred organizations to obtain data for this study. Included were major manufacturers of equipment and related products. Data were compiled from current financial and trade organizations as well as from government sources. In addition to those sources already mentioned, statistical information was compiled from pubic data sources published by the U.S. State Department, the UNICEF’s international household survey initiative, WHO’s World Health Survey, the IMF, the Agency for International Development, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the UN Aquastat and JSTOR data collection programs.

James Wilson is a noted technology analyst and author of more than 300 articles and several books dealing with the environment, science, medicine, technology and business. His previous BCC Research studies include reports on remote sensing, medical device coatings, medical sensors, mobile telematics, robotics and intelligent wireless microsystems. A former editor of the Princeton Business Journal and a senior science and technology editor for Hearst Magazines, he is a past member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Medical Writers Association. He has served on the adjunct faculty of Temple University and on the staffs of Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences. At the Academy, Wilson was involved in organizing three national water conferences; served on the organizing committee of the National Water Alliance; authored and co-authored several studies on metals and nutrients in the aquatic environment; and wrote Ground Water: A Non-Technical Guide, ANSP Press (ISBN: 9780910006064), the first popular book dealing with ground water resources.

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