U.S. water security investment analysis

Frost & Sullivan's bottled water Financial Benchmarking and Analysis (FBA) service presents a financial outlook of the markets benefitting from the water security initiative of the United States' Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), highlighting major market and financial trends in select growth segments. The FBA focuses on the water monitoring products market since it is expected to take the maximum benefit from this EPA initiative.

Frost & Sullivan's bottled water Financial Benchmarking and Analysis (FBA) service presents a financial outlook of the markets benefitting from the water security initiative of the United States' Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), highlighting major market and financial trends in select growth segments. The FBA focuses on the water monitoring products market since it is expected to take the maximum benefit from this EPA initiative.

Regulatory Support for Equipments Providing Water Security
The Bioterrorism Act mandates all drinking water utilities serving a population of more than 3,300 people to conduct regular vulnerability assessments. In this exercise, the utilities are required to show as to how much the system is updated to withstand against a calamity. To meet and tackle threats, the utilities need to install necessary monitoring and detection technologies at critical control points or on a continuous basis through online monitoring. This triggered the demand for water monitoring products significantly and the market has witnessed a steady rise in demand since the enforcement of this act.

The EPA had set strategic targets to be achieved by the end of 2008. The targets were to make sure that 80 percent of the community water systems and 95 percent of the population served will receive drinking water that satisfies all existing health-based standards with a compliance date of January 2002 or later.

Apart from the Bioterrorism Act, other environmental regulations have also helped increase the demand for water monitoring products. Even before the Bioterrorism Act was in place, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act also required the control of critical points in the water and wastewater systems of the country.

Increasing Incidents of Water Contamination
The number of violations on the Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) and Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL), as reported by the states, has been increasing over the last few years. It is not a matter of concern whether the contamination has taken place unintentionally or through intentional human activity. The effect is that the water resource is contaminated and is potentially dangerous. If the contamination is through intentional manual intervention, then it results in the concern of security as well.

This trend of rising contaminant levels compels water and wastewater utilities to have proper monitoring equipment installed at critical control points. It also mandates regular tests apart from online monitoring. This is expected to increase the demand for water monitoring products.

Increasing Concerns of Water Security
Prior to the 9/11 attacks, intentional contamination of drinking water systems was not thought of as a potential form of terrorist attack. The events have raised the need for homeland security, especially for the nation's natural resources such as water. There were some intelligence reports by the government that suggested that terrorists had discussed making use of the employees of water treatment facilities for intentional contamination of the water supply and cause mass casualties even before 9/11 attacks. Even though the reports were not proved, there were credible evidences discovered, thereby raising the security concerns. The fear of contamination of drinking water resources has reached such heights that the EPA introduced the Water Sentinel Program in order to establish pilot early warning systems through intensive water monitoring and surveillance in selected cities to begin with. As a result, many other water utilities also realized the need for security and started preparing for potential threats of contamination.

Most of the water systems in the United States were built prior to such attacks on security and hence, they are not equipped with measures against them. Therefore, the market for such equipment that helps in providing security through the timely detection of contamination and continuous monitoring started developing only from 2003. The market is expected to grow further, as there exists a number of utilities that require the basic necessities to provide opportunities for advanced forms of security.

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