Water - a global market
The demand for water will continue to rise considerably. Meanwhile, however, the availability of fresh water resources is diminishing owing to contamination, sinking groundwater levels, dried-up wells and climate change. Over the last 30 years water consumption in the USA has trebled, whereas the population has grown by only 50%. Global water consumption doubles every 20 years, more than twice as fast as population growth. Current trends suggest that, by 2025, a third of the population will have no access to clean drinking water.
The global world market is estimated by Goldman Sachs (2008) to be worth around 425 billion US dollars, with a long-term growth of 4%-6 %. In industrial markets an average growth of 3%-5 % (USA and Western Europe) is expected through an improvement in existing water and waste water infrastructure within 5 to10 years, compared with 10% or more in developing markets (China and India) through the creation of a new water and waste water infrastructure.
Owing to the substantial imbalance between supply and demand, the strongest growth areas in the global water market will come from high-end water treatment technologies:
Filtration/ultrafiltration – improvements in these areas can lead to the exclusion of chemicals from water treatment:
Reverse osmosis (membrane technology)
Desalination (drinking water from sea water)
UV and ozone disinfection systems – a cost-efficient alternative to water disinfection using chlorine