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Ten Key Trends That will Shape the Future of the World Water Industry

Municipal Water Supply

  1. Steve Maxwell

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.mw525

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Maxwell, S. 2005. Ten Key Trends That will Shape the Future of the World Water Industry. Water Encyclopedia. 1:508–510.

Author Information

  1. TechKNOWLEDGEy Strategic Group, Boulder, Colorado

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


Scholarly studies estimating future water demand and prerequisite capital expenditures are being released in rapid-fire fashion—and each proclaims a more serious future water crisis than the last. The Water Environment Federation has estimated that wastewater capital requirements during the next 20 years in this country will total hundreds of billions of dollars. The AWWA itself published a report in 1999, which estimated that capital expenditures for upgrading the drinking water infrastructure could total more than $300 billion during the next 20 years. Finally, a report done for the House Water Resources Subcommittee leapfrogged all recent studies and estimated that the cost of building, operating, and maintaining the water and wastewater infrastructure in this country during the next two decades will exceed $2 trillion!

Choose your number, but it is clear that the costs of providing clean water to an expanding population and growing economy will continue to mount. This has led to a gradual reawakening of a rather sleepy water business, and a period of substantial consolidation and realignment has transformed the industry. Ten overarching trends and developments characterize the U.S. drinking water industry and will combine to shape the business in the future.


  • water industry;
  • water markets;
  • water economics;
  • competition;
  • industry trends;
  • water strategies;
  • industry trends;
  • competitive trends;
  • growth factors;
  • mergers and acquisitions;
  • industry consolidation