Urban surge drives 57% growth in Indian municipal water treatment market by 2018

Urban population growth in India will create huge demand for municipal water and wastewater treatment systems including desalination adding 57% to revenues over five years according to a recent report by market analyst Frost an Sullivan (F&S).

More than 20 cities are expected to expand greatly by 2032 generating intense water stress acceding to the report. Major coastal cities including Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Surat and Vizag, offer “high potential” for desalination plants to meet water demand the report predicted.
The Indian Municipal Water and Wastewater Treatment Market, earned revenues of INR 31,260 million (US$ 494 million) in 2013 and F&S has estimates this will increase 57% to INR 49,000 million (US$ 775 million) by 2018 fuelled by rising population and urbanization. The study coverage includes desalination, filtration, clarification, disinfection and membrane systems, pre-treatment, primary, secondary and tertiary treatment and activated sludge treatment.

Observations in the report include a forecast increase in the adoption of membrane technologies, customer price sensitivity is high with municipal projects usually awarded to the lowest bidder, there is currently “very limited” penetration of recycle and reuse systems, and government policies, such as the National Water Mission, support the growth of the water and wastewater treatment market.
F&S energy and environment industry analyst, Nideshna Naidu, said: “Of the 32 major cities in India, 22 are facing water shortages. Even in cities with comparatively narrower demand-supply gap, shortages are registered due to significant water loss during transmission.”
Growth will be tempered by a lack of proper planning and funds for infrastructure according to the report. “With water being highly subsidized in India, most municipal corporations are unable to recover the cost of water supply,” stated the analyst. “Alternate sources of water, such as recycled and reused water for various non-potable municipal applications, is very limited,” said Naidu.

Indian municipalities, the report said, are unable to generate sustained revenues due to low water tariffs, poor meter connections, and a high share of non-revenue water supply.  

Naidu said desalination and wastewater recycling and reuse have the potential to meet growing water demand. While desalination has strong potential, wastewater reuse is in its formative stages in India and has only recently gained currency in India. It has, according to F&S, “tremendous potential” with only 30% of the wastewater currently being treated.
“Latest developments in the global desalination segment can be brought to India through joint ventures,” said F&S. It suggested that domestic water and/or infrastructure companies could meet the civil and structural development needs of desalination plants. Joint ventures could also contribute technological insights, and operation and maintenance expertise, Naidu said.