The most widely used estimate of the size of the global water market over the last two years has been in the range of $360 billion, as shown in the chart below, with an annual growth rate of 4-5%, suggesting the market is currently in the range of $375 billion. Within that amount, the key segments break down as follows:
- 50% of the total, or approximately $185 billion, is comprised of municipal utility services revenues an estimated 20-22%, or about $40 billion, is revenues from private sector utility operators while the remainder is provided by government entities, usually local municipal government, around the world. (While the private sector serves only an estimated 10-12% of the world’s population, their share of revenues are higher since they are charging full cost of service, rather than embedding it in the government cost base. This trend toward full-cost pricing of water is beginning to take hold in some municipal governments as well.)
- 26-27% , or $100 billion, comes from consulting, engineering, construction, operations and other services
- 21-22%, or $80 billion, comes from the sale of equipment, technology, and treatment chemicals
- 2-3%, or approximately $9 billion, is residential water treatment equipment.
Business Journal, U.S. Filter, and others
Using these numbers, the size of the global private sector market available to investors would be about $229 billion, including private sector utility revenues, equipment, services, and the residential market.
A recent analysis by Global Water Intelligence, the leading industry journal, estimated a global market size of $316 billion, broken down as follows:
$18 billion – industrial capital expenditure
$13 billion – industrial operating expenditure
$78 billion – utility capital expenditure
$71 billion – utility operating expenditure, ex chemicals, energy, and labor
$23 billion – utility chemicals/consumables
$48 billion – utility energy expenditure
$65 billion – utility labor expenditure
This estimate suggests that the global market is about $203 billion, excluding energy and labor expenditures. Though it’s looking at the market a little differently, this estimate is not terribly far off our estimate of $220 million, excluding the market for residential treatment equipment.