Rapid urbanisation and increasing demand for water, coupled with poor water management, has led to an urban water crisis. Despite the growing need for water infrastructure investments, projects face challenges in securing private investment due to low levels of competitive returns. The Capstone team was tasked with finding and evaluating water projects that would be both socially impactful and provide attractive returns for private investors. This Capstone project identified four projects that represented opportunities for private sector capital to participate in the financing of large-scale and impactful water projects, which contribute to solving the urban water crisis.

The Capstone team evaluated two desalination projects in the Middle East, located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. These projects will add much needed desalination capacity in these cities and use energy efficient technology to lower traditionally high operating costs.

Additionally, the team evaluated two cutting-edge water management projects. First, an ambitious PPP project in China, Sponge Cities, that revolutionizes urban water management. The project is designed to deal with the problems of rapid urbanization through a sustainable urban water management system that increases efficiency of water use and prevents flooding. Secondly, the team provided an analysis of a company which is developing a graphene membrane filter that improves the efficiency of wastewater treatment. Waste water re-use is an underused water resource and is vital to cities sustainable urban water management.

 

Addressing global water stresses with Columbia University students: https://www.investmentbank.barclays.com/news/columbia-water-capstone-2018.html