Australia - Country Commercial Guide
Water and Wastewater Treatment

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-08-16

Overview

Waste Water Treatment Trade Data: 2018 - 2021 est.

 

2018

2019

2020

2021 (Estimated)

Total Local Production

390

393

377

420

Total Exports

58

59

57

59

Total Imports

941

966

930

994

Imports from the U.S.

141

145

145

147

Total Market Size

1,273

1,311

1,250

1,355

Exchange Rates

.75

.71

.70

.70

Unit: US$ millions

(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Data Sources: Industry estimates 

In 2019, Australia experienced one of the worst droughts in the last 100 years.  The drought had a particularly severe impact on the areas of the southern coast of Australia, the west coast of Western Australia, northeastern New South Wales, and the greater southeast of Queensland.  The arid interior of Australia and most of the Northern Territory also experienced even drier conditions than in previous years. Federal and State-based government agencies were once again working on strategies and projects aimed at addressing the challenge.  With drought conditions easing significantly in early 2020, securing future water supply remains an important long term priority.  The Australian Government has established the National Water Grid Fund as a US$2.5 billion rolling 10-year infrastructure program to fund water infrastructure investments. As part of its 2021-22 budget, the Government has allocated funding in support of new and augmented projects.

Australia spends an estimated US$6 billion each year on water and wastewater treatment services.  Direct capital purchases and equipment maintenance account for 20% of total spending.

Australia has a population of 25.8 million, and 94% of Australians are connected to a main water supply. There are approximately 300 urban water utilities in Australia. The largest 22 utilities service about 70% of the population. The smallest 200 utilities collectively service 13% of the population, which is less than the number of customers of Australia’s largest utility – Sydney Water.

In addition, approximately 85% of the population currently has access to more than 700 community sewage treatment plants. Nearly half of these are based on biological filters, about 170 are lagoons, and 45 are based on primary treatment. Most new plants are implementing activated sludge processes. On the municipal side, water authorities remain the main purchasers and users of goods and services in this sector, and they are relatively few.  These utilities tend to be serviced by multinationals.

There are a small number of large Australian suppliers (employing 100 or more) but most of the players are smaller companies (employing 1-20 people).  There are also some well-established local manufacturers and assemblers of water and wastewater treatment package plants.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Given the market structure, smaller vendors are targeting mining and other remote community applications. Other key applications include: wool scour mills, steel processing, pulp and paper, breweries, chemical and petrochemical plants, pharmaceutical plants, abattoirs and canneries, and food and beverage processing.

Opportunities

Industry contacts advise that the removal of organics from water supplies remains a priority because of issues regarding taste and odor and the formation of carcinogens when organics in the water reacts with disinfection agents such as chlorine.  Most new water treatment systems in Australia these days incorporate some form of organics removal.  The three commonly used processes for dealing with removal of organics from drinking water in Australia incorporate ion exchange, activated carbon, and advanced oxidation processes.

Resources

Approximately 80% of service providers and water/wastewater equipment distributors are members of the Australian Water Association.