U.S. Water Industry grows to $172 billion; 4% growth forecast for 2018

U.S. Water Industry 2018 grows to $172 billion; 4% growth forecast

EBI publishes annual data and trends in the water and wastewater market

 

 

While the U.S. Water Industry has been historically slow growing compared to other environmental market segments, it continues to be one of the most consistently growing components of the U.S. Environmental Industry.

 

According to Environmental Business Journal’s (EBJ) latest water and wastewater edition, published by Environmental Business International Inc., the U.S. Water Industry 2018 represented a $172-billion business in 2017, up 4.2% compared to growth of 2.7% in 2016. In 2017 Water Equipment & Chemicals saw a noticeable rebound from slower markets in 2015 and 2016, and wastewater rates ticked up noticeably.

 

See The U.S. Water Industry 2018; EBJ Volume XXXI, No.5-6

 

Wastewater treatment works represented the largest portion of the market, at $61.5 billion, while water utilities generated $59.2 billion in 2017 revenues, although these segments represent more market segments for service and equipment vendors in the U.S. as the majority of water and wastewater utilities are municipal.

 

Included in EBJ’s definition of the water industry is Water and Wastewater Services. This sub-segment is led by consulting and design-engineering firms, which generated $11.6 billion in water and wastewater revenues in 2017.

 

Other sub-segments of the industry captured in EBJ’s size and growth forecasts in this edition are: Analytical Services, Water Chemicals, Water Treatment Equipment, Contract Operations, Maintenance Services, and Instruments & Information.

 

Purchase The U.S. Water Industry 2018; EBJ Volume XXXI, No.5-6

 

“The over-arching challenge faced by the water industry both in the U.S. and globally is the gap between investment required to maintain, let alone upgrade, water infrastructure, and the meager allocation of capital or financial instruments to support more private investment,” noted EBJ Editor in Chief Grant Ferrier.

 

EPA’s most recent surveys estimate approximately $655 billion in drinking water and wastewater infrastruc¬ture needs nationwide over the couple of decades.

 

“Hope that the Trump Administration would provide some lead¬ership on infrastructure funding, financ¬ing or at least policy has not materialized, leaving the water industry to create more public debt instruments or attempting to monetize future income from tightly con¬trolled rate-paying user communities to support investment projects with bonds,” Ferrier said.

 

Private Equity Sees Opportunities
The good news is that private equity investors are starting to play a larger role as water evolves from a niche investment strategy into an established theme with global scope. Equity investment in water infrastructure was limited prior to the financial crash, but today smart metering, leak detection, water reuse, desalinization and agricultural water efficiency are just some of the opportunities attracting investors to the industry.

 

This 52-page edition of EBJ explores some of the bright spots, like automation, data analytics, sensors, mobile apps, and innovative treatment technologies that are helping to reshape the industry. And Q&A with innovators and leading companies highlight recent and future opportunities. Alternative supply sources like desalination and water reuse, and alternative business models like point-of-use or point-of-entry are also getting consistent support and investment from a still fragmented market of hundreds of thousands of municipal, industrial, institutional, commercial and residential customers.

 

But despite being one of the largest segments in the $386-billion U.S. Environmental Industry in 2017, both in terms of revenue generation and in absolute number of customers or clients, the water industry is still slow moving and historically resistant to innovation. More fundamental structural change will be required to mobilize capital and innovative disruption on a grand scale.

 

Inside this Edition:

• EBJ’s List of Top Water Equipment & Chemicals Companies
• Results of EBJ’s 2018 Water and Wastewater Survey
• EBJ talks to top executives about efforts to build resiliency to climate impacts, advances in data automation, smart technologies, recycling and reuse, waste to energy, smart water, financing, emerging contaminants, changing public opinion, and more.
• Review of consolidation in water chemicals and equipment
• Contributors include industry leaders: Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, SUEZ, Global Water Intelligence, Summit Water Capital Advisors, EA Engineering Science and Technology, financial advisor PFM, Bluewater, Kinetico, law firm Hanson Bridgett, Evoqua Water Technologies, utilities consultancy EMA, Valor Water Analytics/Xylem, and CDM Smith.