Water Technology

 

Advanced Water Technology Deployment Resources and Strategies
Sullivan & Worcester has identified the area of advanced water technology deployment as a critical success factor in meeting today's water challenges. During 2012, S&W hosted a series of conferences/webinars on water challenges and opportunities. These conferences brought together experts from industry, government and finance, addressing three major topics:

Water Challenges – Physical and Legal Scarcity
Water-Energy Nexus
Advanced Israeli Water Technologies

Recordings of the events, Powerpoint presentations and extensive supporting materials can be found at the links above.

Based on these events, we reached the following general observations:
1. Water scarcity, financial demands and performance imperatives are going to continue to intensify in coming years.
 
  • EPA has estimated that the nation’s municipal and private water systems will need to invest an estimated $335 billion between 2007 and 2027 in water infrastructure
  • There are tremendous financial, environmental and public health opportunities for maximizing use of innovative water technologies
  • Water scarcity is looming as a major challenge in many regions of the U.S. and internationally
   
2. Given the economic realities, it will be very difficult to bring hundreds of billions of dollars to bear on solving these problems.

The Goal Must be to Work Smarter – Through Better Technologies – Rather Than Continuing to Throw Money At Problems Using 20th Century Approaches
   
3. There are numerous demonstrated and effective advanced water technologies available and on the market today that can play an instrumental role in addressing water challenges.
   
4. However, major challenges are blocking large scale deployment of advanced water technologies:
 
  • Risk adverse purchasers – unwillingness to take chances on innovative approaches
  • Lack of financial resources and incentives
  • Outdated municipal procurement methods
  • Capital investors are not seeing a clear path to achieving return on investment
  • Fragmented political control and decision making at the state and local level
  • Lack of perceived urgency to make infrastructure improvements
  • Absence of cohesive federal programs and policies
   
5. These issues are broadly understood and being addressed generally by the major industry groups and their participants. However, there is not a sufficient concentrated effort seeking to solve the specific problem of technology deployment.  Just as the alternative energy industry has had to overcome the “valley of death” faced by successful start ups seeking to achieve scale, the water industry will benefit by a concerted effort to cut through policy, structural and financial issues that are holding back deployment.
 
Categories of Advanced Water Technologies
  • Water recycling/reclamation
  • Wastewater to energy production
  • Pumped water energy production
  • Water transport efficiency technologies
  • Leak detection and remediation
  • Fracking technologies for water purification
  • Energy production from water
  • Flood control/response
  • WaterIT/Water Smart Grid/Predictive Methodologies
  • Drinking Water Treatment
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • StormWater/Green Infrastructure
  • Distributed technologies for remote locations/military applications/developing countries
  • Desalination
 
Classification Distinctions for Advanced Water Technologies
  • Type of system/operation: drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, distributed water, water to energy
  • Mechanical v. information technology
  • High tech v. low tech
  • Start up v. mature companies
  • Stand-along technologies v. integrated solutions combining technologies and services
 
U.S. Federal Agency Roles
  • EPA Water Innovation Cluster
  • SBIR Grants with DOE sponsorship
  • GSA
  • DOD acquisition
  • Corps of Engineers projects
  • NIST
  • DOJ/EPA Consent Decrees
 
Policy issues and opportunities
  • Federal and state pilot testing, verification and certification programs
  • WRDA - WIFIA
  • SRF
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Private Activity Bonds
  • PACE financing
  • Federal payment of stormwater fees
  • Nutrient control from agriculture
  • Judicial advocacy