Collaboration the key to a sustainable water industryDOWNLOAD
29 February 2012: Closer collaboration with the energy industry, technology providers and the private sector will be vital to ensuring a globally sustainable water industry, according to Water Tight 2012:The Top Issues in the Global Water Sector – the latest report from professional services firm Deloitte.Deloitte partner and National Water Leader, Michael Rath, said that that ageing infrastructure, scarcity of supply and increasing demand from industry meant the private sector had a much bigger role to play in the water sector.
“There will need to be a substantial amount of capital invested in the global water industry over the next two decades to combat ageing infrastructure and meet increasing demand – one study suggests that figure is US$16 trillion. With governments around the world becoming increasingly budget constrained it seems likely the private sector will play a bigger role in either running publicly owned water assets or providing the capital to fund new ones.”
Mr Rath said that a shift towards increased privatisation will undoubtedly see existing pricing structures come under increasing pressure and the industry will have to have to work with technology providers to find smarter ways of providing services.
“At present, water pricing barely covers the cost of maintenance and operations, let alone upgrading or extending the system. However, while the water industry hasn’t been a front runner in leading with technological advances, the potential for consumer prices to rise and the ever increasing demand for infrastructure is likely to drive much greater investment in technology.”
“Utilities need more than reservoirs and pipes, they also need data and analysis to make informed decisions about where to invest their infrastructure dollars wisely to avoid costly expansions that don’t meet consumer needs. If these companies can better understand existing and future consumer usage patterns, they will not only offer better service to customers, they’ll also be much more profitable,” he said.
According to Mr Rath, one of the biggest issues for both the local and global water sector was the production demands of the energy industry.
“The more energy we use the more water is needed for production so the water and energy industries need to work in closer collaboration to find integrated solutions for reducing water usage during energy production,” he said. “Doing so will go a long way to addressing the challenges, such as carbon emissions, that currently face both industries.”