Municipal Water Reuse Market set for Explosive Growth

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A revolution is taking place in the water reuse sector, which dramatically repositions technology as a solution to the global water scarcity crisis, according to a new report published today by Global Water Intelligence*, produced in collaboration with PUB, Singapore's national water agency.**.

Oxford, UK, Global Water Intelligence GWI's latest report, Municipal Water Reuse Markets 2010 ***, represents the most extensive research published about the market for water reuse to date. Based on a complete investigation of existing water reuse facilities and proposed future projects, it reaches a number of remarkable conclusions:

1) Water reuse currently has little impact on water scarcity: In theory water reuse should be a substitute for water drawn from nature. In practice, because most reclaimed water is provided for irrigation purposes at very low cost, it is seen as an additional source of water - the water you can afford to waste. Currently water reuse has little overall impact on water scarcity, the report argues.

2) We will drink more reclaimed water - indirectly: the future of water reuse is in higher value urban applications such as industrial process water and augmenting utility water supply, either through blending in reservoirs or injecting into the aquifer. Landmark projects such as the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment Scheme in California, the Western Corridor Recycled Water Project in Queensland, and Singapore's NEWater programme are examples of the new generation of high value urban water reuse projects. These projects have benefited from new technologies in ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection, which offer an absolute guarantee of the safety of reclaimed water. They produce high value water no one can afford to waste.

3) Water reuse will grow more quickly than desalination in percentage terms: Currently the installed capacity of water reuse plants which meet generally accepted public health standards is around 28 million m3/d (7.4 billion gallons a day). This compares to around 41 million m3/d of seawater desalination capacity. By 2016, the water reuse capacity is expected to grow by 180% to 79 million m3/d (21 billion gallons per day), whereas seawater desalination capacity is expected to grow by 120% to 89 million m3/d.

Commenting on the report's findings, the publisher of the report, Christopher Gasson, said:
"Global warming gets all the headlines, but water scarcity is reaching crisis point in many parts of the world right now. Water reuse has the potential to make a huge difference to the situation in cities, but so far its impact has been disappointing. Most reclaimed water is probably wasted."

"Three things have come together to change that. First, the technologies that will deliver the highest grade water for reuse - ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection - have become cheaper and more effective. Secondly, the public is becoming more environmentally concerned. Recycling water seems as natural as any other recycling. It is also greener than big dams, diverted rivers, and desalination. Thirdly, the economics are there. Many cities are running out of options, and they are realising that high grade urban water reuse is much cheaper than the alternatives."

"Over the past decade governments around the world have preferred to back desalination ahead of water reuse. It is easy to see why: most water reuse projects produce low grade water with limited applications rather than the highly treated water cities need. Programmes like Singapore's NEWater scheme change the game. They have demonstrated that water reuse can be an essential part of sustainable cities".

See Christopher Gasson's KEY POINTS video here (1 min)

"Singapore's foray into water reuse began way back in the 1970s and today, water reuse is an integral part of Singapore's water sustainability strategy. NEWater, Singapore's own brand of reclaimed water was launched with much public fanfare in 2002 and has since gained widespread public acceptance. NEWater can currently meet 15% of Singapore's water needs and this will double in 2010 with the combined capacities of all our plants including the latest and largest plant with a capacity of 50 million gallons a day," added Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Chief Executive of PUB, Singapore's national water agency.

The overall growth in the market, together with the growing emphasis on higher value treatment applications, creates excellent opportunities for technology companies such as GE Water and Process Technologies and Siemens Water Technologies, but also for engineering firms and other water and wastewater equipment suppliers. There will also be additional opportunities for finance. Currently, around one third of reuse projects are financed by private developers and this proportion is likely to increase as the size and technical complexity of projects grows. There will be plenty of scope for private and public wastewater reuse plants to be excellent investments as the market evolves.

Press Conference:
Municipal Water Reuse Markets 2010 report will be launched at the Saudi Water & Power Forum 2009, Hilton Hotel, North Corniche Road, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 21362. Tel: +966-2-6590000 (SWPF).

At 18:30 on Sunday 11th October Adil Bushnak, Chairman of the Bushnak Group and Director of the International Desalination Association (IDA), Christopher Gasson, Managing Director of publishers Media Analytics Ltd, and Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Chief Executive of PUB, Singapore's national water agency, will be available for questions and further discussion regarding water reuse.                

Water reuse facts:

·    The global installed capacity of water reuse plants is around 50 million m3/d (13.2 billion gallons per day), 28 million m3/d of which (7.4 billion gallons a day) of which has been treated to the tertiary level (ie suspended particles have been removed and the water has been disinfected).
·    The actual output of water reuse plants is probably just 60% of their capacity (ie 30 million m3/d - 6.6 billion gallons per day). It would take all the water reuse plants in the world more than three years to fill the Hoover Dam in the United States.
·    Annual expenditure on building water reuse projects is currently in the region of $2.4 billion. This is expected to rise to $8.4 billion in 2016. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 19%.
·    Most water reuse is subsidised. The amount spent on reused water is estimated to be $730 million. The total cost of producing reused water may be as high as $1.8 billion.
·    No city in the world connects its water reclamation plants directly to its drinking water systems. The closest direct potable reuse gets is in Windhoek, Namibia, where 26% of mains supply comes from reclaimed water.
·    All water use is in fact water reuse because of the water cycle. 62% of our body weight is water, so there is a good chance we contain molecules which have passed through historic figures - and even dinosaurs.

*** Municipal Water Reuse Markets 2010 (more information) is an independent, critical analysis and forecast by Global Water Intelligence and PUB Singapore. It details over 2,600 existing reuse facilities and is the largest international database of water reuse facilities in the world today. It gives clear insight into market opportunities and allows country-by-country and regional analysis from raw data. It is essential intelligence for investors and financiers, equipment suppliers, water companies, engineers, consultants and water utilities.

Available as a printed report with accompanying data CD-ROM, priced £1400 from Media Analytics Ltd, publishers of Global Water Intelligence magazine. ISBN: 978-0-9547705-8-7. Contact Emma Welsh, Sales & Marketing Director, for further information or to place an order: Tel: +44 1865 204208

**About PUB Singapore:
PUB is the national water agency of Singapore managing the entire water cycle, from the collection of rainwater to the supply of drinking water to the collection, treatment and reclamation of used water. To ensure a robust and sustainable supply of water for Singapore, PUB relies on a long-term water supply strategy known as the Four National Taps comprising water from local catchments, imported water, reclaimed water (branded NEWater) and desalinated water. PUB won the 2007 Stockholm Industry Water Award and was named Water Agency of the Year at the Global Water Awards 2006.
Contact: Sally Toh, Manager (Communications) 3P network Department, PUB, tel: +65 6731 3108 fax: +65 6731 3011, [email protected], PUB Singapore.

*About Global Water Intelligence, Oxford, UK:
GWI is the foremost researcher and publisher of data and information about the global water industry. Its titles include the renowned Global Water Intelligence monthly magazine,, the finest online desalination resource now available, and the Water Desalination Report, a weekly emailed newsletter containing desalination news updates.

Based in Oxford UK, GWI has 17 correspondents stationed abroad and a staff of around 30 at home. It organises the renowned GWI Conference each year, and hosts the Global Water Awards.

Its water market reports offer detailed analysis by world region, by country and by water type, the latest of which is Municipal Water Reuse Markets 2010 with forecasts up to 2016.

Contact: Ruth Newcombe, Global Water Intelligence, tel: +33 634 435 132, fax: +44 1865 204209, Global Water Intelligence

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Ruth Newcombe
Global Water Intelligence
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