The urban population in the year 2000 was about 2.8 billion which by the year 2020 will reach a whooping 4.2 billion. This huge accretion will naturally create pressures on urban amenities in an unprecedented scale and the world must start taking action immediately if it is to save itself from the impending disaster.
Yes, the world is becoming predominantly urban. With more inhabitants living in towns and cities than in the countryside, huge pressures are exerted on municipal infrastructure and service provision. Urban growth in developing regions has been extremely rapid, and although some progress is being made worldwide in providing urban dwellers with improved access to water and sanitation services, the pace of growth in most cities means that authorities are constantly playing catch-up. Existing infrastructure is already inefficient, with one-third of the water supply in many systems being lost to leakage, and there may be problems with bringing sufficient water into the city. Many cities have already exhausted nearby surface and underground sources. Amman, Delhi, Santiago and Mexico City are among those pumping water from increasing distances and up increasing heights.
An important feature of contemporary urban growth is that much of it takes place in informal slums and shanty-towns on the fringes of the towns and cities. The proportion of urban dwellers living in such settlements is typically between 30 percent and 40 percent in developing regions and can be much higher in less developed regions. Most of these crowded settlements do not enjoy either water or sanitation services, both of which are essential for decent living and health. Squatter citizens are not counted in surveys as their presence in town is ‘’illegal’’ so the rosy picture typically conveyed by high tallies of urban service coverage is misleading.
And it is this scenario that makes the makers of ductile pipes the most sought after by town planners and other municipal service providers. Ductile pipes are not only the most cost effective alternative but also provide long term solutions to both the problems of providing clean potable water as also to channel the sewerage out to the treatment plants. Increasing urban population will therefore mean greater demand for water, which in turn will call for more and more pipes being laid to reach the water to the households.
Add to this the fact that the BRIC countries are exploding economically where the industrial use of water too is slated to increase manifold. Currently only 20 percent of the water is used for industrial use globally while in industrially advanced countries it is as high as 60 percent. With the metals industry (read steel) one of the major consumers being the driver of the BRIC economic story, water consumption is slated to increase manifold, which too will call for more and more ductile pipes, the preferred carrier for the industry.
And this is why I am extremely bullish about the DI pipe industry.