Suez Environnement, Europe’s second-biggest water company, will begin operating a treatment plant in Mumbai within three months as the country’s growing urban centers increase consumption.
“Considering India’s population and rising demand for water, we expect business to grow, especially in mid-sized cities,” Shyam Bhan, the utility’s chief operating officer in India, said by telephone from Gurgaon, near New Delhi.
Rapid urbanization has boosted demand for water treatment in India, where Suez Environnement, larger European competitor Veolia Environnement and Va Tech Wabag Ltd. are competing for contracts. Emerging Asian markets represent growth for Paris-based Suez which, like peers at home, is grappling with slower demand for industrial waste collection in Europe after factories were suspended to survive the economic slowdown.
The 3 billion-rupee ($56 million) Indian project, awarded by the Mumbai municipality, adds capacity to an existing 2.1 billion-liter-a-day plant at Bhandup in Mumbai. The facility, operated by Suez’s Degremont India unit since 1981, will expand to process an extra 1 billion liters a day, becoming the nation’s single largest treated-drinking-water project, Bhan said.
India’s demand for clean water may exceed supply by 50 percent by 2030, while pollution is making what’s available unfit for human, industrial or agricultural consumption, according to McKinsey & Co. and the government.