World demand for water treatment products, chemical and nonchemical, is projected to increase 6.4 percent per year to nearly $40 billion in 2011, according to a study by The Freedonia Group (www.freedoniagroup.com). The study, titled World Water Treatment Products, predicts advances will be particularly strong in the developing world, with countries such as China and India registering growth more than double the global average. In more established markets, gains will be due to the continuing introduction of more sophisticated water treatment technologies, including wider use of higher-end membranes in desalination and other applications, specialty chemicals in industrial water treatment, and easier to use products for recreational water treatment.
Overall, demand for nonchemical water treatment equipment and supplies is projected to register faster growth than chemical products. Conventional filtration equipment will still account for a substantial share of the market. However, more advanced techniques, especially membrane separation, are expanding their presence in the water treatment market, not only in the most developed countries, but in developing regions as well, particularly in China, which has been quick to embrace membranes in industrial water treatment, according to Freedonia.
Nonchemical disinfection equipment is expected to register the fastest growth of any product category. Freedonia says UV and ozone have become increasingly popular water treatment technologies, as they allow for a dramatic reduction in chemical disinfectant dosages. Growth for water treatment chemicals is expected to be below the overall average, but will still be appreciable. Advances will be prompted by greater use of chemicals in industrial water treatment, especially in developing countries in Asia and Eastern Europe. In developed countries, value gains for chemicals will result from a shift to specialty chemicals, particularly in the industrial market, according to Freedonia.
Although low-cost commodities — chlorine, lime and alum — will continue to dominate the municipal market in volume terms, municipal water treatment will register above-average growth through the forecast period. In developing areas, this will result largely from efforts to expand access to improved water to previously unserved populations. Sharp increases in the overall level of manufacturing in the Asia/Pacific region will make it the fastest growing industrial water treatment market, although the United States will remain by far the largest single outlet for both municipal and industrial water treatment products.