Western Europe's International Water Hub

It is no coincidence that as one of the Western Europe's most switched on countries when it comes to EU water regulation, Germany possesses one of the most efficient networks in the region.

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It is no coincidence that as one of the Western Europe's most switched on countries when it comes to EU water regulation, Germany possesses one of the most efficient networks in the region. Such low water losses and minor disruptions to supply are enviable worldwide. But this success came at a price: the country had to invest over €100 billion over the last 20 years to reach this stage. These figures are part of industry analysts Frost & Sullivan's recent report, Western European Water & Wastewater Utilities Market (see pages 14-15 for more detail). The report also highlighted that despite high levels of investment in the past, Germany invests one of the highest amounts into its drinking water sector (€0.54 per m3) followed by England (€0.53 per m3) and France (€0.33 per m3).

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Germany also invests one of the highest levels of finance into the wastewater sector (€1.27 per m3), followed by England and Wales (€0.91 per m3), France (€0.72 / m3), respectively. Investments in the water and wastewater sector are fully paid by the end-users, as a result of utilities pricing water and wastewater services following the cost-recovery principle of the Water Framework Directive.

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Middle Eastern promise

It is not just other countries in Western Europe that have taken an active interest in the German model. The end of 2010 saw an agreement signed between Messe Berlin and the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association in Amman.

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As a result, it is expected that numerous foreign delegations, from the Middle East as well as Russia and China will attend the Wasser Berlin show in May. Around a quarter of all exhibitors are expected to be international. This includes three joint national displays hosted by China, a joint national display by Russia, where companies will be distributing information about their services and activities. Numerous exhibitors from the Middle East will also be represented in Berlin for the first time. International events will be further augmented by a Russia Day, organised by the Eastern Committee of German Industry and German Water Partnership.

Furthermore, dedicated international forums will address the different water and wastewater challenges across different countries. Nations set to attend include Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Jordan, numerous Central Asian states and Turkey.

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"The international attention the fair has attracted is due to two main factors", said Cornelia Wolff von der Sahl, project manager at Messe Berlin. "On the one hand the water industry is becoming more globalised. Against this backdrop, with its extensive programme of congress events Wasser Berlin International is becoming an increasingly important industry platform.

"On the other hand, our direct involvement in other countries, our international contacts and the work carried out by our foreign representatives has had a positive impact."

No Dig technologies

It has been estimated that in 2008, trenchless technology (see page 45) was used to build 750 kilometres of pipes in Berlin alone. This helped to save 64 million euros in costs. As a result, this year's Wasser Berlin International will incorporate the 'International No Dig' event, presenting the latest developments and technology in trenchless pipe laying.

With the 2009 event attracting over 30,000 visitors and 179 international exhibitors, it is clear that, as western European countries go, Germany is now an apt a host country as any for an international water event.


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