Demand for water and wastewater pipe in the United States is expected to rise 5.8 percent annually to $19.6 billion in 2014, exceeding 5.3 billion feet, according to a report by the Freedonia Group. Freedonia says advances will reflect renewed activity in the residential building construction sector, the growing obsolescence of sewer and drainage systems, and upgrades of municipal water systems. Copper pipe demand is expected to rise at the fastest pace due to its close ties to the resurgent building construction segment.

WATER & WASTEWATER PIPE DEMAND

(million dollars)

% Annual Growth

Item

2004

2009

2014

2004-

2009

2009-

2014

Water & Wastewater Pipe Demand

13025

14803

19630

2.6

5.8

Sewer & Drain

7394

9055

11670

4.1

5.2

Potable Water

5150

5237

7375

0.3

7.1

Irrigation

371

387

428

0.8

2.0

Other Applications

110

124

157

2.4

4.8


Freedonia predicts demand for plastic water and wastewater pipe will advance 7.0 percent annually to $8.5 billion in 2014. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe is expected to remain dominant and grow at an above average pace, fueled by improved joining technologies and resins such as molecular-oriented PVC. Best opportunities are anticipated for distribution, service and drain/waste/vent pipe due to rebounding residential building construction markets. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe is predicted to grow at a faster pace as a result of opportunities in sewer/drain and potable water pipe, particularly corrugated HDPE drain pipe.

Demand for concrete pipe will expand 3.5 percent per year through 2014 to $3.7 billion, fostered by sewer and drainage applications. Cast iron pipe demand will increase 3.1 percent per annum through 2014 to $2.9 billion due to the material’s good performance in water transmission and sanitary sewer applications. Further growth will be threatened by competition from lower cost plastic pipe. Copper pipe lost market share to plastic pipe between 2004 and 2009 as a result of high metal prices. Steel pipe will remain a leading player in storm sewer and culvert applications, competing with concrete and corrugated HDPE pipe.

Municipal and building construction markets together accounted for 96 percent of water and wastewater pipe in 2009, according to Freedonia. Municipal pipe markets are expected to increase 3.6 percent per year to $11.5 billion in 2014, stimulated by efforts to rehabilitate an aging pipe infrastructure. Fastest growth is expected for drainage and storm sewer pipe in light of growing highway construction and infrastructure spending. More rapid growth in building construction pipe markets will reflect rebounding housing markets. Slower advances are expected in other markets such as irrigation.