New analysis focuses on EU water industry

Research and Markets has announced the addition of "The European Water Industry Market Assessment 2007" to their offering. This Market Assessment report analyzes the EU water industry, including water supply and wastewater treatment. It is structured around a country-by-country description for each member state, as well as a discussion of key issues for the whole of the EU. Statistics are given for freshwater abstraction, main water uses, sewage treatment and the quality of bathing water...

DUBLIN, Ireland, Nov. 27, 2007 -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of "The European Water Industry Market Assessment 2007" to their offering.

This Market Assessment report analyzes the EU water industry, including water supply and wastewater treatment. It is structured around a country-by-country description for each member state, as well as a discussion of key issues for the whole of the EU. Statistics are given for freshwater abstraction, main water uses, sewage treatment and the quality of bathing water. For each country, the report provides a discussion of market structure, with particular reference to the way in which the water industry is organized, and an account of the main players in the industry.

The EU water industry is driven by legislation in the form of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and associated legislation. The main aim of the WFD is to enable the EU to achieve a `good status' for its waters by 2015. A staged approach is incorporated in this legislation, with specific targets to be achieved by specific dates.

Most of the EU's water resources are from surface water -- which, for some EU countries, relies heavily on inflow from neighboring countries. This feature, together with the geographical topography of some major European river basins, means that there is extensive interdependence between countries. An important aspect of EU water resources is the uneven distribution across Europe. In Scandinavia, with its low populations and small agricultural requirements, water resources are very abundant. This is in contrast to the Mediterranean region, with its hot summers and large agricultural industry, which has less access to water.

Important issues have to be addressed in the EU water industry, including the increasingly significant topic of climate change. As a result of climate change, there are likely to be extreme periods of hot weather in south and south east Europe, whereas in northern Europe serious flooding is expected. There have already been examples of these extreme weather conditions. It will be important that policies take into account the diverse nature of these weather conditions across the EU water industry. First, there is the investment required to bring the whole community up to the standards required by EU legislation. Second, there will need to be additional funding to deal with the full effects, not yet known, of climate change. Water charges are increasing.

Regarding ownership, most of the EU water industry is owned and administered by municipalities, either on their own or in the form of two or more forming a company. Private companies may be contracted to undertake water services work. In some countries, they play a more significant role -- an extreme case being that in England and Wales, where all water activities are privatised. Private-equity firms are making acquisitions in the private sector, a trend that is not universally welcomed.

For future development, attention will have to be given to greater availability of information and statistics on the water cycle, to enable planning activities to take place. An integrated approach to water management will be needed to take into account the needs of key economic sectors, such as agriculture, construction, and coastline and leisure activities.

Co-ordination on policy and legislation will be needed to ensure that activities in one aspect of the water industry will not have a detrimental effect on others or result in scarcity of water, i.e. insufficient water resources to satisfy long-term average water requirements. This is currently being studied by the European Commission. Legislation will focus on the implementation of existing laws but, in the future, further legislation could be introduced to mitigate the effects of climate change.

For more information, visit: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c75438

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