Desalination & Water Reuse Market Growth

Jan. 14, 2019

The International Desalination Association handbook reports project that 2019 will see the most growth in seawater desalination since the late 2000s

The International Desalination Association (IDA) and Global Water Intelligence (GWI) have released the latest market overview for the worldwide desalination and water reuse markets.

According to IDA, the handbook reports that after three years when the overall desalination market remained steady, experts are projecting that 2019 will see the most growth in seawater desalination since the late 2000s. The handbook also reports that the industrial desalination market grew by 21% in contracted capacity between 2016 to 2017. According to IDA, increased activity in upstream and downstream oil & gas accounted for over one third of contracted industrial capacity in 2017. At the same time, rising commodity prices have revived desalination activity in the mining industry, with 201,000 m3/d of new capacity contracted in the first half of 2018 alone.

According to the 31st desalination inventory, the total global installed desalination capacity stands at 97.4 million cu meters per day (m3/d) while the total global cumulative contracted capacity is 104.7 million m3/d.

However, at the same time, water reuse has become an increasingly important part of water resources management around the world. According to IDA, the global contracted reduce capacity has almost doubled since 2010. The cumulative contracted capacity has increased from 59.7 million m3/d in 2009 to 118 million m3/d in 2017.

“IDA has always advocated solutions to water scarcity by supporting the development of the desalination and water reuse industry to secure sustainable water and natural resources. Over the past decades, our industry has achieved an important reduction in non-conventional water costs and increased quality to ensure water sustainability,” said Miguel Angel Sanz, IDA President.

IDA believes the expected surge in desalination is largely a results of gathering momentum in construction plans in the Middle East.

According to the 2018-2019 IDA Water Security Handbook, 1.9 million cu meters per day (m3/day) of seawater capacity was contracted in the first half of 2018. Since that time, preferred bidders have emerged on projects totaling well over 1 million m3/d in additional new capacity in the region.

“The big breakthrough in the past year has been on the cost of desalination,” said Christopher Gasson, Publisher at GWI. “Recent project tenders in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have seen the price fall below $0.50/m3 for the first time. After a decade in which price drifted upwards as a result of high materials costs and higher energy costs, this is very good news. Indeed, we expect 2019 to be the best year ever in the desalination market. In terms of water reuse, prices for indirect potable standard water are in the $0.30-$0.40 range, but the market is still held back by public perceptions.”