Challenges of the Water Sector

The management of water resources remains a major challenge for public and private players on our planet.

In developed countries, the major issue at stake is the protection of this increasingly scarce resource: to protect the basis water resource from pollution, to avoid its loss in the production, distribution and treatment processes, to propose new incentives for domestic clients, agriculture and industry to use water in a more controlled and responsible way.

Private and public water operators are thus facing needs for important investment in legacy networks, for improvement in asset management in terms of processes and tools – GIS, GMAO, smart metering, SCADA etc. – but also for the design and deployment of communication campaigns, new products and new tariff schemes to encourage the more responsible usage of water and the reduction of technical losses. In some countries, the issue of non technical losses is also particularly acute and generally requires the transformation of management processes and of the metering infrastructure.

In developing countries, the key challenge is to provide general access to water and to its treatment: more than one billion people in the world have no access to drinkable water and two, and a half billion people do not benefit from reliable water treatment infrastructures.

This situation results in huge investment needs in the water sector, estimated at 180 billion euros per year to 2035, whereas currently only 75 billion euros per year are spent. While today the public sector is by far the main investor, the size of the challenge will require the rethinking of financing, investment and management models to reinforce the presence of private operators and attract new investors.