by David Magollon
A June BCC Inc. report estimated the world demand for water and wastewater treatment technologies at nearly $550 billion in 2004, forecasting average annual growth of 2.2% over the next five years for a market likely to reach $615 billion by 2009.
The demand in the industrial water world, it can be said, is driven largely by a combination of regulatory requirements and economic conditions. In recent months, we've heard conflicting information about where that economy is headed, as messages shift with the political winds of another American election year.
On one hand, some companies point to clogged rail lines and longer freight delivery times as a sign pent-up industrial demand was letting loose after three years of lackluster overall results (while critics continue to jeer at the jobless nature of the rebound).
On the other, the continued slide in the dollar's value fosters fears the recovery is losing steam (although even that can be good for U.S. companies because it makes their products cheaper abroad, improving the outlook for export growth).
Through it all, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan remained upbeat, underscoring a relatively flat inflation rate, strong inventory/sales growth and steady productivity gains. The general business cycle may be slow to turn, but inexorably it is dogged in its intent. Thus, regardless of electoral whims, it's fairly certain we can count on a more robust business climate.
As such, things are definitely heating up in the industrial water business. We've already seen major realignment in the last few years with the emergence and merging of key players (CUNO, GE Water Technologies, Ionics, Itron, ITT Industries, Millipore, Pall, Pentair, Siemens, WattsU). Now, they're all lean and mean and ready to roll. It's a good time to join the game.
In that light, I hope you'll welcome me as the new editor of Industrial WaterWorld. I come to the position after nearly nine years as editor of a trade magazine that covered primarily the point-of-use/point-of-entry residential water treatment market, helping it to become No. 1 in its niche. I also helped launch a new bimonthly publication covering the larger water treatment industry in Latin America, at roughly the same time as this magazine's first issue rolled off the presses.
Still, while I do not come to the job unaware of the intricacies of water treatment, I could likely use a reorientation to the specifics of your individual businesses, your varying focuses and editorial needs. To that end, the first event I'll be attending will be the Industrial Waste Conference in Philadelphia on Aug. 22-25. I noticed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency posted related regulatory updates by industry segment in its preview of the Water Environment Federation-sponsored event on its website (see: www.epa.gov/ waterscience/guide/conf).* You'll also read a preview to October's WEFTEC show in this issue as well.
In addition, we have plans here to start a Technical Advisory Council for Industrial WaterWorld to, again, better position the publication, articles and other features to serve the water and wastewater interests of the industrial community. This will be a working committee to review technical articles, contribute features and offer advice to keep the magazine closely aligned with your needs.
I would like to thank James Laughlin, PennWell Water Group associate publisher and WaterWorld editor, for the hard work he has put in as acting editor off and on over the past couple years as well as all the support he has given me since I began on July 1. If you would like to contact me, I can be reached at [email protected].
• You'll find I'm big on providing links to where readers can learn more about subjects covered in the magazine. Here are a few I came across in compiling this:
• www.worldbank.org/nipr/Thailand/Estimating ConventionalIndustrialWater.htm
Carlos David Mogollon, Managing Editor