Black & Veatch: Land scarcity driving water innovation in Asian cities

Limited space and the high price of land in Asia’s established and rapidly developing cities are driving innovation in the water industry, according to Black & Veatch.

The views were shared in a series of videos following the release of Black & Veatch’s fourth annual Strategic Directions: US Water Industry Report. The videos compare and contrast findings from the report and offer insight into the issues facing water utilities and developers in Asia.

Land scarcity, especially in densely populated cities, is forcing utility providers to build facilities at small and compact sites. This is freeing up precious land for alternative development and uses.

“Some water utilities are looking more closely and moving forward with underground solutions when cost benefit analyses support the arrangement. They are making use of underground and mountain caverns to store fresh water and storm water and, in some cases, wastewater treatment facilities. We are also seeing examples of utilities planning to integrate wastewater treatment facilities with municipal solid waste handling plants, which has additional cost and environmental benefits,” said William Yong, Managing Director of Black & Veatch’s water business in Southeast Asia.

Prioritizing investments and managing costs

While aging infrastructure ranks for the fourth straight year as the top concern for water utilities in the United States, Black & Veatch believes Asian cities are equally concerned with planning, financing and developing new infrastructure.

As urban populations continue to grow, they must balance and prioritize investments in maintenance, replacement as well as expansion. The same fiscal pressures identified by their US counterparts are also facing water utilities in Asia. Managing operational and capital costs remain priority issues.

“Managing growth creates a further challenge. However, there is no shortage of awareness of what needs to be done,” said Mitesh Patel, Managing Director of Black & Veatch’s management consulting business in Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East. “Tools that improve investment decisions and create more robust systems will help overcome real and ever evolving threats to service continuity.”

Recent weather extremes, with prolonged dry and wet periods, are influencing utility operations and how they consider long term investments. There are also real concerns around physical and cyber security threats in the region. Such trends indicate a rise in resiliency planning and uptake of asset management programs.

Editor’s notes:

  • Black & Veatch has served the water industry in Asia for more than 90 years.
  • Findings for media from the 2015 Strategic Directions: U.S. Water Industry Report is available here.
  • Black & Veatch conducted its fourth annual Water Utility survey from 6 March 2015 through 30 March 2015.
  • 454 participants, based in the United States, participated in the survey. Statistical significance testing reflects precision of at least ±4.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
  • This year’s report includes external market analysis from Willis Group, a leading global risk advisor and insurance broker, and industry analyst group Standard & Poor’s.
  • The full Black & Veatch report is available for download at no charge via or the iTunes App Store®.

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2014 were US$3 billion. Follow us on and in social media.

Media contact information:
Keith Morrison | +65 6761 3510 p | +65 9666 5214 m |
Yashidha Kumari | +65 6761 3511 p | +65 9645 7688 m |
24-Hour media hotline | +1 866 496 9149

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