10 Fascinating Trends In The Water Industry And The Companies Poised To Gain From Them

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With global water consumption doubling every 20 years, its no surprise that the $450 billion water market has seen rapid innovations.

An increasing number of companies are turning to water reuse, desalinating water, and implementing new technology that makes its economical. The industry is also consolidating merging manufactures with service providers. And the the trend is picking up around the world.

A new report by Citi Investment Research & Analysis has culled 10 trends to look for in the water market, and the companies levered to the trends.

Water reuse will become a new source of water supply

Water reuse has major psychological barriers that stem from the 'toilet to tap' concept. Strict EPA standards make the process inefficient and for the process to become mainstream it needs more infrastructure investment.

The trend however is catching on San Diego has invested over $300 million in water reuse systems. Outside of the US, Beijing has committed $5 billion and aims to reuse or recycle 100% of its city wastewater by 2013.

Top companies: Pall, Nalco, GE, Siemens, Pentair, and Hyflux

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

Desalination systems are growing around the world

The technology used to create fresh water from seawater or brackish water has improved and become more economical as a drought-proof supply solution. There are 543 projects in various stages, across 90 countries.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, U.S., Spain and China have the highest desalination capacity but India and Israel have seen a significant growth since 2002 when most of their capacities were installed.

Top companies: IDE Technologies, Hyflux, Suez, Veolia, ACS, Ferrovial, Acciona, and Doosan Heavy.

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

Highly contaminated water is energizing water treatment

North America has a $5 billion produced water market. Produced water is the highly contaminated water that comes from fracking, The spread of natural gas drilling and the use of hydraulic fracking has pushed for treating and disposing of produced water.

The two main options include point-of-use treatment, where water is treated for use at the site, and, transportation and disposal

Top companies: Heckmann, Key Energy Services, Basic Energy Services, Complete Product Services, Guangdong Investment

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

Membranes are displacing chemicals in water treatment

Advances in filtration membrane technologies have been displacing chemical treatment systems. The membrane water treatment market is expected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2009 to $2.8 billion in 2020.

Top companies: Dow FilmTec, Pall, GE, Pentair, 3M, Koch, Siemens

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

Forward osmosis is the new form of desalination

Forward osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane to separate water from dissolved solute and relies on natural pressure. It's also a greener option and doesn't consume as much energy as reverse osmosis that relies on pressure from highly engineered pumps or turbo changes.

Thr question however is will the technology be scalable beyond the realm of science experiments.

Top companies: Hydration Technology Innovations, QuantumSphere, and Oasys Company

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

Ultraviolet light disinfection is replacing chlorine

20% of North American wastewater treatment plants use UV technology. Ultraviolet light neuters parasites in water, but the effect only lasts as long as the water is passing through th e UV light.

Top companies: Danaher, ITT and Calgon Carbon

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

Chinese competition in high-tech sectors like filtration is growing

There has been increased Chinese and Asian competition in higher-end of water products and services. While the companies previously focused on low-end infrastructure products like pumps and valves they are now venturing to sectors such as filtration.

This boom has stemmed from an attempt on the behalf of the National People's Congress to increase the access of safe drinking water to China's rural population.

Top companies: Hyflux, Epure International, Shanghai Industrial, Beijing Capital, Kurita, Doosan Heavy Construction, and Nitto Denko

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

There are growth opportunities in water efficiency products

Water efficiency products include bio-gas recovery systems, water meters that could help companies gain from water footprint initiatives, ultrasonic sludge pre-treatment, pipe rehabilitation and relining systems, and water derivative products like water-free toilets.

Top companies: Badger Meter, Itron, Roper, Insituform, Geberit, Falcon Waterfree Technologies, and SPX

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

Point of use treatment is becoming more popular

A critique of municipal water systems is that once clean water gets contaminated as it travels through old pipes and is exposed to contaminants.

Top companies: Pentair, Culligan, 3M, Siemens, Eco-Water Systems, Kinetico, and BWT

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

Distinction between water service and equipment providers has been blurring

The competition to land big water, wastewater, and desalination construction projects requires a bidding process on the basis of the build, operate and transfer (BOT) arrangement. Now equipment manufacturers and service providers are partnering to build desalination plants or companies are branching into both segments.

Top companies: Veolia, Suez, Hyflux, and IDE

Source: Citi Investment Research and Analysis

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