Miami-Dade's US$ 13 billion plans pull in punters for PPP

Miami-Dade County has become the most attractive public private partnership (PPP) opportunity in the US with players chasing US$ 13 billion in water and wastewater projects according to market analyst Bluefield Research.

Bluefield said the county's investment plans were attracting private utilities, engineering procurement and construction firms, water technology and service providers and infrastructure investors. Much of the expenditure "will be tendered using PPP contract structures," Bluefield predicted.

Among the drivers for PPP deals was the call for increased reuse of wastewater amid "overwhelming water stress" in Florida, California and Texas said Bluefield. It reported in its Private Water Insight Service that Florida has 86 water reuse projects in planning worth a total of more than US$ 6.3 billion.

Municipal utility, Miami-Dade County Water and Sewerage Department, expects to spend US$ 5.1 billion this year and 65% of that will be in wastewater projects driven by population growth, system upgrades and environmental legislation seaid Bluefield. A "key part of the spend" the researcher added, will be emerge from Ocean Outfall Legislation (OOL).

In South Florida, compliance with OOL is prompting the expansion of reuse in the state by 608,000 m3/d. For Miami-Dade county the bill will be US$ 3.3 billion over the next ten years.

At the start of 2015, Miami-Dade awarded management contracts, covering a total of 1.4 million m3/d. The contract for its OOL compliance programme went to CDM Smith and for upgrades of existing wastewater treatment plants the contract went to MWH Bluefield reported.

Meanwhile, according to Bluefield, Suez Environnement subsidiary, United Water, has opened an office in Miami-Dade County to join the "fierce competiion" for PPPs in South Florida. United Water currently lacks a presence in the state where private utilities serve only 1% of the population but, according to Bluefield: "United Water, with support from parent company Suez Environnement, is well positioned to pursue P3 opportunities built on its reference list."

In June 2013, Florida passed legislation that expanded the range of valid PPP models in the state. The law allowed companies to submit unsolicited proposals to local governments and agencies.

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