Since the first edition of the event in 2007, the URL for the event has been At the time it was considered a bit brash, but bringing water and money together was absolutely necessary and this has only become more true 17 years later in 2024. 

COVID, climate change, and increased cost of borrowing have left the global water sector facing the greatest financial challenge it has ever encountered. Reserves have been spent, investment needs are accelerating, and the willingness of the public to settle the bill is wilting.

With all this in mind we have undertaken an exercise to try to put a dollar price tag on some of the conference sessions. The numbers represent challenges but also opportunities. To capture the opportunities we must find innovative ways of doing more for less. That is what we are meeting in London to discuss:

Pre-conference workshop on the UK water sector.

That is what the English and Welsh water companies think they will need to spend in the next five years. It looks an impossible amount to both customers (who ultimately have to foot the bill) and to financiers looking at the risks and returns of the sector – but without it, how will the water companies keep the taps running and make the rivers clean? If you have an answer to offer, sign up for the event.

Pre-conference workshop on desal performance.

The world currently spends that much each year on running desalination plants. Could it do better? We have been working on an international benchmarking survey to get a better understanding of where the frontiers of desal performance lie. We will be releasing the results of this in April, and discussing the performance objectives of the offtakers who will shape the next ten years of the desalination industry.

Pre-conference workshop on corporate water targets.

That is the amount that businesses might have to spend in order to meet their 2050 water stewardship targets. Will it all be necessary? We are bringing together water leaders from across the corporate world to discuss whether there are better ways of having a bigger impact on global water security.

Leading Utilities of the World.

The 70 members of our Leading Utilities of the World initiative are among the heaviest and most effective investors in the future of water. Innovation and communication hold the key to their success. Five more members will join in London. The rest of the water industry can learn from their insights.

The 300 Group Initiative.

The objective of the group is to bring the benefits of SDG6 to 300 million people. Doing that will cost at least $90 billion, and the group’s main responsibility is to accelerate that deployment.

Project roundtables.

That is the target spending total we are aiming for as we invite project proponents to present at the 2024 Global Water Summit.

Swimmable rivers.

It is an enormous bill for what ten years ago seemed an impossible luxury. Public expectations have changed, and utilities around the world are struggling to keep up. There is a difficult balance between cost and performance, which we can make a lot simpler by defining the parameters and developing new technologies.

PFAS innovation.

That is how much it might cost if Europe and America choose to eliminate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water down to the detection limit. It is a crazy amount that no policy-maker should willingly impose on water customers. The only alternative is much better technology to remove the contaminants.

Net zero water.

That’s how much investment might be required to eliminate the global water sector’s carbon footprint. It would involve maximising energy recovery from wastewater and powering major pumping and treatment operations with wind, hydro, and solar. In the long term it could save utilities a lot of money. How can we accelerate the transition?

P2X water.

The switch from traditional fuels to hydrogen and ammonia, and the adoption of advanced batteries could translate into a $500 million-a-year business for water businesses in the next five years. The dynamics of the market are shifting rapidly, so positioning is all-important. We will be hearing from those at the cutting edge of these markets.

New opportunities in the circular economy.

That is how much the global water industry is leaving on the table by our failure to develop new income streams from the circular economy.

Making water actionable for investors.

That absurdly large figure is the total value of all assets under management in the global financial sector. It is also money that needs to be engaged in the global water security challenge if this planet is to remain inhabited over the next century. We have two sessions scheduled which aim to address the gap in understanding between water and money.

The Global Water Summit is the place where we turn these numbers into something more.

Register your interest to attend in 2025.