Mary Beth Nevulis is associate editor for Water & Wastes Digest. Nevulis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new water industry survey from WeiserMazars LLP has revealed some surprising (and some not-so-surprising) responses about the future of the industry over the next three to five years.
Seventy-one percent of respondents expect significant consolidation in the next five years through privatization or semi-privatization. This has been anticipated for some time, but negative public perception so far been a stumbling block. This attitude is changing as municipal budgets tighten and as raising taxes—an unattractive idea for the most part—becomes the only option. Many states are enacting public-private partnership legislation, paving the way for consolidation to take place.
This shift toward public-private partnerships could help alleviate another issue identified in the survey—one that that many of you are familiar with from personal experience. Respondents touched on the age of their water infrastructure assets, with more than 45% categorizing the facilities as old to very old. None of the infrastructure was rated as new.
What has your experience been? Is your facility or municipality debating the use of public-private partnerships to help finance new or upgraded assets? Let us know at email@example.com.