Water Cultivation to Address Future Need, Report Says

A new report from Lux Research maps and forecasts the $522 billion "Hydrocosm" of water-related businesses for the first time -- projecting that a new approach of "water cultivation" characterized by efficiency, reuse, and source diversification will be required to meet rising needs.

"By 2030, the world will use 40 percent more water than today and nearly half of the world's population will face severe water stress," said Michael LoCascio, senior analyst at Lux Research and primary author of the report. "The world will avert crisis by cultivating water as a durable asset rather than throwing it away as a consumable -- creating growth opportunities in everything from oxidizing new contaminants to rehabilitating creaking infrastructure."

To make sense of water's complex landscape, the Lux Research team interviewed 66 water experts worldwide, inventoried all water financing transactions since 1998, built a multivariate regression model to forecast water demand, and conducted exhaustive secondary research including modeling revenues of more than 300 water-related companies. Report highlights include:

•Total water-related revenues stand at $522 billion in 2007: $385 billion in services, $64 billion in equipment, $9 billion in chemicals, and $62 billion in bottled water. Approximately 14 percent of total revenue derives from developing technologies and business models poised for growth, such as the $3.3 billion desalination equipment segment.

•Revenue will grow to $961 billion in 2020 as specific growth segments such as zero-liquid discharge, UV disinfection, drip irrigation, and metering and monitoring break away from the ranks.

•Investors have flocked to water technologies: Of $1.12 billion in venture capital funding since 1998, 59 percent has been invested in just the past two years. In the last 10 years, 506 water merger and acquisition events have occurred worth $176 billion in deal value while 39 water IPOs have raised $4.8 billion.

•A few key areas -- including next-generation desalination, waste management, energy mitigation, infrastructure integrity, advanced oxidation, and water sourcing and transport -- dominate near-term growth opportunities.

"The technologies and business models required to meet future water challenges are either already here or dangerously close to commercialization," said Heather Landis, Lux research analyst. "Companies that make wise choices have potential for rapid revenue growth."

The 133-page report, titled "Water Cultivation: The Path to Profit in Meeting Water Needs," includes market sizes and projections for 85 water-related business segments through 2020. For information, contact John Schwartz at john.schwartz@luxresearchinc.com or (646) 649-9582.

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