Companies in this industry operate water treatment and water supply systems; sewer systems and sewage treatment facilities; and steam and air-conditioning supply systems. Major companies include American Water Works, Aqua America, and California Water Service (all based in the US), along with France-based global giants SUEZ and Veolia Environnement, Brazil's SABESP, and the UK's Thames Water.
Demand depends on commercial and residential water needs, which are related to population growth and to the level of economic activity. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficiency of operations, because prices are fixed by public utility commissions (PUCs). Large companies have economies of scale in operations and the ability to raise capital for infrastructure improvements. Small companies can compete successfully through superior engineering or by serving desirable local markets. The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about 75% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Water services account for about 70% of US industry revenue, sewer services for about 10%. Steam supply, irrigation, and other services account for the rest.