Historic Agreement Reached
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference that was held in Paris from November 30 to December 12 brought together 196 representatives of countries and NGOs from around the global. The entire conference was infused with a sense of urgency due to the prevailing opinion that this was absolutely the last window of opportunity for a meaningful agreement that could effectively contain global warming and its related environmental catastrophes such as massive floods, drought, extended heatwaves, and rising ocean water levels.
Thus the announcement at the end of the conference by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that an historic agreement had been reached was greeted with much relief and fanfare. The agreement sets a goal of limiting global warming to less than 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels and calls for zero net greenhouse gas emissions to be reached during the second half of the 21st century. The parties will also “pursue efforts to” limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, which will require zero emissions to be achieved sometime between 2030 and 2050.
Climate Change and Water Management
During a press conference at the summit Laura Tuck, the World Bank Group Vice President for Sustainable Development, stated “Water scarcity and variability pose significant risks to all economic activities, including food and energy production, manufacturing and infrastructure development. Poor water management can exacerbate the effects of climate change on economic growth, but if water is managed well it can go a long way to neutralizing the negative impacts.” (our emphasis)
With Vietnam ranked as one of the five countries most vulnerable to climate change, the World Bank Group was “putting its money where its mouth is” when it announced during the conference that, in cooperation with the Governments of Vietnam, Australia and the United Kingdom, it is launching the Vietnam Climate Innovation Center to assist 48 early stage clean-tech businesses to bring new and improved climate-smart products and services to over 1,700 households. Not surprisingly, water management technology is one of the key sectors on which the Center will focus.
What Does This Mean for the Smart Water Management Market?
The smart water management market can be defined as advanced hardware (such as smart water meters or water network sensors), IT solutions (such as meter data management) and services (such as water network visualization or GPS-based water discovery) that work together to minimize water loss and non-revenue water (NRW). Long before the Paris Climate Conference, sustainable water management was high on the agenda of governments around the world, with the adverse effects of climate change affecting the availability of fresh water resources for increasing populations and growing economies.
With these dramatic and urgent needs driving growth, along with aging infrastructures in the developed world that need to be renewed, the value of the smart water management market is expected to increase from $7.34 billion in 2015 to $18.3 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 20.1%. The following graph (in USD millions) specifically shows the growth anticipated in the largest geographic segment of the smart water management market – North America:
As the world’s leaders head home to begin the arduous process of actually ratifying and executing the Paris Agreement, smart water management companies will be working overtime to provide optimal solutions for this one – but important – piece of the puzzle.
 Where Water and Climate Change Meet The World Bank, December 1, 2015
 New Climate Innovation Center Launched to Promote Green Growth in Vietnam The World Bank, December 11, 2015
 Smart Water Management Market Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2013 – 2019, Transparency Market Research, June 2014
 Smart Water Management Market by Solutions, by Services, by Smart Meter Types, by Region – Global Forecast to 2020, Market and Markets, May 2015
 Smart Water Management (SWM) Market Analysis By Component, Technology And Segment Forecasts To 2020, Grand View Research, October 2014