Asia and industrials to counter desalination decline

Declining drought in new desalination markets has weakened growth but a long-term counter from expansion in Asia and elsewhere creates a positive outlook for 10,000m³-plus plants according to a recent forecast by market researcher, Bluefield.

“The end to extreme droughts in new markets like Australia, Spain, and South Africa have eroded once positive market opportunities for private players outside the Middle East, heightening competition for system suppliers and owners,” said Bluefield. It warned that a return to the pre- 2010 upswing was “not yet in the making” but added: “the longer-term outlook is more positive, underpinned by emerging activity in Asia, industrial verticals, and longer term pipelines.”

Continuing Middle East demand along with “industrial expansion, private water investment, supportive policies, extreme drought, and China’s demand for water,” will drive growth, Bluefield predicted.

It added: “The global desalination sector has not been immune to economic volatility and the overall industrial downturn that has slowed industrial output. This is evident in the 2.1 million m3/d drop-off in large capacity additions from 2010 to 2011 and project pipeline development, which has created a hangover effect in the earlier forecast years, 2014-2015.

It maintained that water stress and drouth along with private sector demand and regulatory pressures will sustain desalination as a strong option for future water supply.