Fresh water is a limited resource, thus it is very important to save water in order to balance the needs across consumer population, industries and other sectors. Thus, water regulatory bodies and water utilities across the globe need to proactively adopt smart technology to better manage their processes and distribution channel. Smart water management (SWM) facilitates reduction in repair and maintenance costs, reduction of NRW (Non-revenue water). SMW also helps to minimize energy usage in pumping of water at water utilities, cost of detection of leaks and theft and enhances customer engagement in water conservation.
The SWM market is driven by various factors such as aging water infrastructure, lack of water management in urban areas, need for mapping water resources and need to reduce non-revenue water (NRW). Furthermore, water regulatory bodies in North America and Europe are mandating stricter environmental standards related to smart water management which is another important driver for this market. The global smart water management market was valued at USD 4,813.3 million in 2012 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.7% during the forecast period from 2013 to 2019. However, high cost of installation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) inhibiting the growth of this market.
The three main components are hardware, solutions and services. Hardware segment was the largest component segment in 2012 and accounted for 40.1% revenue share of the global SMW market. Solutions segment is expected to grow at a faster rate due to growing demand for various advanced software for smart water management such as Hymer (Orbicon), ReadCenter AnalyticsPro and ReadCenter Analytics+, and Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) software (IBM) among others
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In urban areas, water is the most neglected natural resource. Smart water solutions and services are still struggling for rapid adoption in major part of the globe owing to lack of regulatory support from the governments in some regions such as Africa, and Western Asia among others. Aging water infrastructure especially in developed economies such as the U.S.A., Canada, and Germany among others is a major driver for adoption of smart water technology solutions. Aging water infrastructure results in bursts, pipe leakage, and increased customer complaints. Water regulatory bodies are mandating stricter environmental standards related to smart water management which is another important driver for this market. Smart water management market is expected to witness substantial growth in the coming years due to stricter environmental standards mandated by water regulatory bodies across the globe and need to minimize water loss and non-revenue water (NRW). Sustainable water management policies are high on the agenda of various governments across the world. Adverse effects of climate change such as risk of flooding, rising sea levels, and longer drought periods have affected the availability of fresh water resources needed to maintain economic growth and increasing populations.
The major reason for growing demand for smart water management in urban area is increasing urban population. In 1900, about 13% of people lived in cities; however, this has gone up to over 50% and in 2013 is further expected to reach nearly 70% by 2050. These issues are compounded by aging pipe networks in various established cities. In London, for instance, around 40% of pipes are more than 100 years old. According to a survey conducted at the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, the average age of pipes was 76 years with some pipes having been laid more than a century ago. IBM’s smart water management system is helping Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) meet California’s goal for all its water agencies to reduce water use by 20% by 2020. The system uses a real time collaboration platform to help balance environmental, agricultural and other needs in the Russian river water system allowing SCWA to make dynamic, informed decisions about resource allocation.
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North America was the largest revenue generator in 2012 and accounted for 47.5% revenue share of the global SWM market. Dominance of the region is due to increase in investment in SMW technologies in order to minimize water loss and reduce the amount of NRW (non-revenue water) by various water utilities in North America. Asia Pacific is expected to show fastest growth during the forecast period at a CAGR of 23.7%. The growth in this region is attributed to rainfall variability, scarcity of potable water resources and huge water losses in agriculture due to overwatering.
Most of the smart water management solution providers are competing among each other by developing state of the art technology products to get competitive advantage. The global SWM market is fragmented in nature with dominance of large number of local players across different geographies. In 2012, majority of the market i.e. 67.1% share was held by local and regional players offering solutions and services for smart water management. Itron Inc. was the global market leader in 2012. Other players in the market include Arad Metering Technologies, ABB Ltd., Sensus USA Inc., Schneider Electric SA, I2O Water Ltd., General Electric Company, and TaKaDu Ltd.