Environmental Protection

GWI Revises Desalination Market Forecast

A Global Water Intelligence analysis of the desalination industry suggests that new capacity contracted this year will be in the region of 4.7 million m3/d – well below the market peak of 7.5 million m3/d in 2007. There will be some bounce back in 2011, with new capacity of 6.8 million m3/d expected, but the market is not expected to exceed what was achieved in 2007 until 2012. By 2016 the market is expected to reach 13.2 million m3/d of new capacity added.

The factors behind the cooling of the desalination market include:

  • completion of major desalination plant building programs in Algeria, Spain, and Australia.
  • weakness of the real estate market in the United Arab Emirates, Southern Spain and the Western United States
  • project delays and postponements related to such issues as elections, financing difficulties, heavy rains, and administration.

Christopher Gasson, editor of the analysis, said, “We have long been expecting a lull in the desalination market, but the global financial crisis has made things worse. However, the growth picture in the longer term remains very strong indeed. There is just not enough freshwater in the world to meet the growing needs of farmers, industries and cities. We can certainly do more to conserve and reuse water, but desalination is the only way of adding to what nature does in the water cycle.”

Publicly traded companies involved in the desalination sector include Veolia Environnement, Suez Environnement, General Electric and Energy Recovery Inc .

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