Urgent need for repairs to the massive, century-old water and wastewater networks in North America is drawing huge investments to distribution and collection networks. Climate changes, water availability, and extreme weather are exacerbating the need for network upgrades and renewals, compelling water utilities to reassess their investment plans in line with changing conditions and dwindling budgets.
“North American Water and Wastewater Networks Market, Forecast to 2021,” is part of Frost & Sullivan’s Environment & Water Growth Partnership Subscription. The market encompasses diverse products and solutions providers, presenting many opportunities for innovation, convergence, acquisition and innovative business models and partnerships.
The key regions of investment in large-scale renewal of complex urban infrastructure are the older cities in the Northeast such as Boston, New York and Philadelphia; the Midwest and cities lining the Great Lakes; and in California. Although this opens big revenue streams, it will necessitate collaborations among design and engineering firms so they can develop new, complex solution and product portfolios. Water utilities are keen on unique solutions that can make their networks more resilient in the future.
“Infrastructure renewal is often complicated due to the population and infrastructure density in urban regions,” said Seth Culter, senior industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environment. “Participants have to smartly channel investments toward existing infrastructure to lengthen its lifespan and delay significant investment in full replacement and refurbishment. Additionally, the improvements must result in lower operational costs and higher revenue.”
While pipe replacement offers substantial revenue volume, the real scope for growth lies in software. Smart solutions and data analytics’ potential to disrupt the water and wastewater network market by optimizing operations and efficiency point to the large market for software and novel technologies. Already, trenchless technologies are replacing traditional pipeline repair techniques due to their lower costs and minimal physical disruption during operation.
Besides, new water tariffs in storm water management will help utilities capture revenues from previously uncharged services. The implementation of new models such as performance contracting will further benefit utilities by reducing the risk of investments.
“As water utilities are challenged to ensure sustainable services, both in drinking water provision and wastewater collection, they need to make smart decisions according to priority,” noted Cutler. “There are considerable opportunities for both existing and new market participants; however, the most successful ones will be those that can tailor solutions to customers’ needs.”
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