The world’s biggest players – how the water sector is multiplying capital

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Relentless demographic growth, climate change and decades of neglect of water management are making water rise to become the most desirable resource of the future. To meet the challenges of the global market, companies involved in its distribution, purification and treatment are consolidating and promising innovative solutions to save us from shortages. Today’s water industry has its undisputed leaders – here are the biggest of them.


The French Veolia group has been operating since 1853. and employs more than 220,000. people around the world. Its work focuses on optimizing the management of water, energy and raw materials in cities and industrial plants. The water sector has long been integrating with other industries, taking advantage of the synergy of comprehensive environmental solutions. Veolia’s annual revenue is currently close to 43 billion euros, and the group’s market value in January 2024. was estimated at $22.7 billion, making it the 798th most valuable company in the world.

Veolia supplies drinking water to 111 million people, in addition to operating a sewage network for 97 million, managing more than 3,500 wastewater treatment plants. Among its solutions, the company implements zero water loss (ZLD) and waste water methanation technology to produce biogas from wastewater. Ambitious plans include the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Bangladesh’s capital that will provide 500,000 m3 water per day, and a partnership with food company Danone that will essentially reduce water consumption in factories. Veolia is also involved in the construction of a seawater desalination plant in Cornwall – its operations will cover 40 percent of the water demand in the region.

It is worth mentioning that in 2022. Veolia Group has acquired French company SUEZ, which supplies drinking water to 68 million people and generates annual revenues of €8.8 billion. Thus, the water industry has been further consolidated.


US-based Xylem was founded in 2011, but its market value is already almost $27 billion., while revenues for 2023 are estimated at $7.3 billion. The company’s activities include the construction and management of water infrastructure (including water mains and treatment plants) and specific applications in the residential, commercial and agricultural sectors. In March 2023. conglomerate has acquired Evoqua, a leader in key technology solutions related to wastewater treatment. The deal was worth $7.5 billion, and the water sector gained another global player ready to face the stacked challenges.

The consolidated Xylem + Evoqua group is the world’s largest company focused exclusively on water technologies targeting utilities, industry, the commercial sector and end users. Sustainability is one of its priorities, with goals set by 2025. include, among others. realizing water savings of 16 billioncubic meters and developing solutions that positively impact the lives of at least 20 million people worldwide. In addition, the digital platform “Making Waves” offers 40 million viewers worldwide continuous access to technology news, enriching the water sector with a platform for experience sharing and expert analysis.


Global water industry giants include Ecolab Inc. whose market value in January 2024 was $56.7 billion. Its specialty is the development of services, technologies and systems related to water treatment, purification and hygiene. In 2023. The company achieved revenues of $15 billion. – by 8.44 percent. larger than the previous one. Since 2011. The Ecolab Group structure also includes Nalco Water, which offers solutions for reducing water and energy consumption and improving air quality. It is also a world leader in detecting and controlling Legionella bacteria in water systems.

Ecolab’s experts have developed more than 10,000 patents over its more than 100-year history, offering innovative solutions to customers in 170 countries around the world. In addition to water services, the company’s broad portfolio includes strategies for optimizing the use of raw materials and energy and reducing the environmental impact of various activities. Ecolab’s Water for Climate program was also launched in 2022 to support private companies in meeting climate goals without compromising economic development in the coming years. In addition, Ecolab pledges to help save enough water to meet the needs of 1 billion people around the world by 2030 through ongoing projects!

ACWA Power

The water industry is increasingly eager to get involved in seawater desalination projects, which in many areas of the world could prove crucial to solving expected deficits. UAE-based ACWA Power is a company with a market value estimated at 168 billion Saudi rials (about $45 billion) and steadily growing revenues – after the first nine months of 2023. They amounted to more than 4 billion rials (about $1.1 billion). The company has desalination facilities in 12 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.

ACWA Power is currently involved in a project to build the world’s largest seawater desalination plant in Dubai. The investment is expected to be completed by 2026. and will use renewable energy from giant solar farms owned by the company.

Bejing Enterprises Water Group Limited (BEWG)

The global water industry, of course, also includes companies that specialize in serving the Asian market. The largest of these is Beijing Enterprises Water Group, with a market value of $20.5 billion and annual revenues of $1.7 billion. According to Global Water Intelligence, the BEWG group in 2019. supplied water to more than 78 million people, while being the largest investor in China’s water sector.

BEWG owns hundreds of water and wastewater treatment plants not only in China, but also in Malaysia and Portugal, processing daily tens of millions tons of water. In the coming years, with the support of the China Three Gorges Corp. corporation, the company will take part in the development of infrastructure in the Yangtze River region, which is facing overcrowding, pollution and flooding.

Water sector in the 21st century: dynamic development, huge investments

There are, of course, many more companies with global reach and billions of dollars in turnover in the water industry. In the US, American Water Works, which serves 14 million citizens in 14 states, leads the way with a market value of $25.7 billion. The water segment, spun off from the famous DuPont company, is also growing very rapidly, with a 2022 achieved revenues of $6 billion. DuPont Water Solutions offers some of the most innovative water treatment and separation systems.

In the European market, the water industry also has its giants, generating admirable profits. Thames Water is the largest private water supplier and wastewater consumer in the UK, serving more than 16 million citizens. In March 2022. The company recorded annual revenues of 2.2 billion British pounds.

Finally, it is also worth introducing readers to the fourth largest water company in Europe – Spain’s Aqualia, honored as Water Company of the Year 2023 by the Global Water Awards. A decisive 51 percent. shares in the company are held by the FCC’s civil services group, and the rest is owned by Australian investors. Aqualia supplies water to 43.7 million customers in 18 countries around the world, including outside Europe, and additionally handles water treatment and purification. It was singled out for its innovative technological, economic and environmental approach, as well as its close cooperation with the EU on green loan funds and its impressive and consistently implemented sustainability plan.

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