Pinsent Masons launches 2010-11 Water Industry 'Bible'

10 Nov 2010 | 12:00 am | 2 min. read

Global trends identified in this year’s edition: Demand for private sector services continues to grow Shift away from the West, with new players and new countries emerging Services and technologies are now being exported from China and Singapore The Watsan Millennium Development Goals have a long way to go The UN’s human right to affordable water resolution is a great step forward

Pinsent Masons, one of the world's leading infrastructure law firms and a specialist in water projects, has launched the 12th edition of its Water Yearbook – widely regarded as the “bible” for the global water industry.  The book is the essential guide to the critical trends, influencers, projects and companies involved in today’s global water industry.

The 2010 Yearbook reveals a rise in the number of people now served by the private sector – some 12% of the world’s population, or 862 million people - an increase of 60 million on last year’s figures and up from 5% in 1999.  The Pinsent Masons Yearbook researchers also found that the private sector is becoming more diverse.  In 1999, 84% of companies covered by the Yearbook were in the OECD, now its 45%. In particular, China and Singapore are looking westwards towards new markets such as the Middle East.

The dominance of the “big five” companies, such as Veolia and Suez, is now a distant memory.  The big five now control only 32% of the market, compared to 71% in 2001. Continuing a trend identified last year, the Yearbook has also identified a narrowing gap between the 927 “top tier” companies, which cover 695.7 million people and the “second tier” companies (often local players), who now cover 54.5 million people and represent a growing force.

The Yearbook is written by David Lloyd Owen, the Managing Director of Envisager, a water management consultancy and edited by Mark Lane, partner and head of the Water Group at Pinsent Masons. It takes more than 10 months of research every year, comprises 548 pages of expert analysis and this edition covers 29 countries and 164 companies. This year’s edition focuses on Asia and the Americas and describes in detail 1,120 water contracts serving just over 750 million people.

David Lloyd Owen, author, comments, “One of the most encouraging developments for the private water industry was the UN resolution on 30th September 2010 recognising the role of non-state service providers and re-affirming that the delegation of services to third parties still means that the state is responsible for ensuring that people receive safe water and sanitation services. This is a setback for those who believe water to be a tool for state control and whilst the private sector is not a panacea, it has shown itself to be an engine for unplugging administrative and political bottlenecks, enhancing transparency in public administration and combating corruption.”

Mark Lane, Partner and Head of the Water Sector Group at Pinsent Masons, added, “We are still seeing a higher than expected attrition rate in contracts being cancelled ahead of time. There remains a pressing need to re-launch the World Water Vision’s target of universal access to water and sanitation by 2025 as it is clear that the water and sanitation targets for the 2015 Millennium Development Goals will only be partially met. Much work needs to be done to convince people that investing in these assets and services makes good economic sense, especially in a recession.”

The Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook can be obtained by visiting: Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook.

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