Various water industry professionals share below what they think is in store for the sector in 2023. From sustainable solutions to PFAS, professionals are keeping an eye on current and emerging trends. Read below for various perspectives and outlooks for the year.
Focusing on Sustainable Solutions
While 2023 is highly unlikely to reach the same level of legislative and regulatory activity as 2022, the National Ground Water Association is still confident there will be opportunities to promote long-term and sustainable solutions in groundwater management.
In Washington, D.C. we will be working closely with Congress and the administration to promote new funding opportunities for private water well owners to access point-of-use and point-of-entry water remediation technology. We will also be closely monitoring the outcomes of the Sackett V. EPA case and its ramifications on the newly released WOTUS rule. Finally, as the 2023 Farm Bill progresses, we will be advocating for increased protections for groundwater, support for efficient irrigation technology, and additional funding for managed aquifer recharge projects throughout the country’s farmland.
Public Relations & Government Affairs Manager
National Groundwater Association
A Wholistic Outlook
Many manufacturers in our industry are certified to sustainability standards. However, our industry must move beyond sustainability to carbon neutrality. Sustainability implies using a resource so that it is not depleted or permanently damaged. However, sustainability is not a solution unto itself to address our climate crisis. Global warming, which has resulted in severe weather patterns including droughts so severe that lakes and rivers are dying, can only be reversed if we embrace carbon neutrality. Global warming is primarily due to the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) from human activities. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that the world has warmed 1.1°C higher than pre-industrial levels and is hurtling toward 1.5°C. The IPCC further states that only by making deep cuts to GHG and CO2 emissions from the atmosphere can we hope to halt this trend.
To achieve carbon neutrality, our industry must wholistically examine its technologies, supply chains, transportation impacts, manufacturing processes, etc. Moving to electric vehicles, manufacturing and office spaces powered with solar and wind energy, and products produced from renewable, carbon neutral technologies is a must. Products must have a cradle-to-grave life cycle analysis (LCA) that examine the CO2 emissions to produce, market, and dispose of the product. Products labeled with their LCA carbon score would benefit consumers’ purchasing decisions. Let’s work together to save our planet and reverse the climate crisis for our future generations!
Frank A. Brigano
Brigano Consulting, LLC
Watching Evolving Trends
2022 has been a rollercoaster year, with several major factors influencing the POU/POE industry in major ways. Supply chain disruptions due to regional conflicts and COVID lockdowns and global inflation are two of the most significant factors.
These factors will continue to impact the industry in 2023, although in an evolving way. Supply chains are being re-established due to China beginning to loosen up COVID requirements, but also various companies are looking into alternate sourcing options to diversify their sources of critical materials and components.
It looks like inflation may be closer to being under control, at least in the US, but the mechanism of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes that is used to help bring inflation under control has other impacts. Rising interest rates make financing of purchases such as water treatment equipment more expensive for homeowners and other end users as well.
Another consideration for 2023 is new regulation of PFAS compounds in drinking water. There is movement to increase the scope and decrease some regulatory levels for various PFAS compounds. Accordingly, NSF/ANSI 53 has been updated to address some of these developments with PFAS regulation. This is a considerable opportunity for the POU/POE industry to establish effectiveness of their products in more broadly treating drinking water for PFAS contaminants.
There are other trends emerging for 2023, such as cybersecurity and continual increases in hacking attempts for businesses that the industry will need to address. All told, as usual, we can gear up once again for a coming year full of opportunities and challenges. And once again, this resilient industry is well positioned with its pool of talent and formidable work ethic to rise up and succeed.
Director of Global Business Development – Water Systems
The new year brings much hope and opportunity for the water treatment industry and, in particular, WQA member companies. The WQA Board of Directors is focused on continuing to move forward with our three-year strategic plan: advancing professionalism within the industry, such as with our new instructor-led professional certification courses; promoting advocacy at the state and federal level, primarily with the introduction of the federal Healthy H2O Act providing certified products and treatment professionals; and extending public awareness of water quality issues and water treatment products.
Planning for the upcoming WQA Convention & Exposition (April 18-20, 2023, in Las Vegas) is moving full speed ahead. This year presents the first real opportunity in four years for some to join us in person, so it will be a great time to reconnect with old friends while also striking up new relationships. Water treatment dealers have a unique opportunity to come a day early for the WQA Business Boot Camp, and we’ll also be offering a first-ever WQRF Symposium on PFAS. In addition, the nearly sold-out trade show floor will display new and innovative products and solutions geared toward the betterment of water quality.
The 2023 WQA Consumer Opinion Study is coming at a pivotal time. We’ll be able to gauge the public’s understanding of water issues and where we can reach out more effectively to present the solutions our industry is poised to deliver. We know the public cares about their health and well-being more than ever, and water is part of that concern. We’ll release the study at convention.
Marketing & Communications Director
Water Quality Association
To view the 2022 outlook, click here.