Water: A critical infrastructure priority

Today, developed and developing nations alike face needs to repair, replace or create water infrastructure. The global costs of meeting this need are a moving target, already huge.

In this environment, businesses confront a sobering roster of related risks, including higher operating costs, production obstacles or even shutdowns, regulatory strictures and reputational damage.

Given the circumstances, it’s safe to make three predictions:

  • The cost of water will continue to increase.
  • So will water-related regulation and its compliance costs.
  • The number and scope of global water infrastructure projects will grow, as will private participation in these initiatives.

Vast facilities are planned or operational around the globe to increase the water supply. In Ashkelon, Israel, for example, one of the world’s largest desalination plants converts 26 billion gallons of Mediterranean seawater into freshwater annually. China’s North-South Water Transfer Project will, on completion decades hence, move huge volumes of water from the water-rich south to the dryer north of the country through hundreds of miles of pipeline. These are only two of many.

With governments at all levels short of money, public-private partnerships (PPPs) are expected to take on growing importance in financing such undertakings. Water infrastructure funds – a growing sector – will continue to have a role to play.