Are solution providers ready to ride the tech infusion wave? Frost & Sullivan's Energy and Environment team identifies growth opportunities in the increasingly conducive water sector
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As concerns of water scarcity intensify across the globe, the Middle East is being prudent in dealing with this hypercritical resource. Nations in the Gulf consume an average 816 cubic metres of water per person per year, which is 65% more than the world average. At the same time, the region is widely recognised for being the vanguard of new technology adoption, deploying thermal desalination, reverse osmosis (RO) membrane desalination, and eco-friendly, solar-powered desalination plants for generating potable and process water.
Soaring Demand for Water in the Middle East, a recent white paper from Frost & Sullivan's Environment & Water group, finds that technological innovation, improved efficiencies, and supportive policies will shape the region's water odds. Governments and policymakers have already begun measures to promote efficient water usage.
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"The Middle East has shifted gears swiftly to address the water demand-supply gap and change its path of economic growth to incorporate sustainability," noted Frost & Sullivan Program Manager, Energy and Environment, Kshitij Nilkanth. "Like other parts of the globe, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is looking to desalination and wastewater reuse and recycling to bridge the supply-demand gap. GCC must have balanced focus towards reducing water consumption and increasing recycled water usage, as well as incorporating advanced water and wastewater treatment technologies."
While several measures will be taken on demand-side management, it is key technologies and processes that will drive the supply side. For example, Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy (DIES) 2030 aims to reduce water consumption by 40% by 2030, and water reuse and efficient irrigation are part of the eight strategic pillars of Dubai's Demand Side Management program.
GCC countries will also aim to lower loss from non-revenue water (NRW) in order to strengthen water security. For instance, NRW rates in Europe range between 3% and 5% of the water produced, while those in the Middle East range between 13% and 35%. Renewing infrastructure and increasing accountability will help address this issue.
"The strong political will of governments in the GCC, to tide over the water scarcity issue and promote economic growth, will continue to expand growth opportunities for water and wastewater technology and solutions providers," noted Nilkanth. "For instance, water has traditionally been heavily subsidised in Arab countries. However, this is changing with new and revised water tariffs and slabs announced by Abu Dhabi, which is likely to begin a trend of sustainable consumption in the region."
Such hikes in tariffs can spur research and development and commercialisation of smart metres and smart water grids. Rise in electricity tariffs would mean that desalination water plants will be under pressure to reduce energy consumption by resorting to energy-saving devices or shifting to energy-efficient pumps.
Overall, the Middle East water solutions market is set for strong growth:
Key players in the Middle East water solutions market include Veolia, Dow Water and Process Solutions, Abengoa, Almar Water, Xylem, Suez, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, and Pentair Water.
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