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K-water to work with corporate sector on water strategy

Visitors pose at the Korean booth during the 2012 World Water Forum in Marseille, France. (K-water)
Visitors pose at the Korean booth during the 2012 World Water Forum in Marseille, France. (K-water)
The nation’s large companies are expected to make a foray into the water market on increased government support for the industry, including an initiative being taken by the state-run Korea Water Resources Corp.

Korea Water Resources Corporation, also known as K-water has focused on supporting small and medium-sized companies in the water industry in developing water and sewage system technologies.

Now K-water plans to encourage conglomerates and other major firms to participate in water industry development efforts to make it more globally competitive.

This is because K-water sees the industry as having high added value, and being closely connected with the nation’s information communications technology.

“We plan to encourage more major enterprises to develop total water service systems based on the Smart Water Grid to integrate construction, operation management and ICT system,” a K-water official said.

The Smart Water Grid is a system connecting the electrical grid with information technology to improve efficiency and safety, and manage the water production and consumption information.

To help companies splash into overseas market, K-water plans to modularize the ICT-based element technology solution based on the Smart Water Grid.

“The modularization will help companies to present a customized business model when dealing with overseas clients,” K-water said.

The government plans appear to be a good sign for many corporate giants that have shown great interest in the water industry, market observers said.

Recently, Cheil Industries, an affiliate of Samsung Group, along with Woongjin Corporation, Hyosung and Kolon, have aggressively expanded their production capacity in membrane technology, hoping to jump into the environment and water industries. The technology is used for water purifiers, seawater desalination, and water and sewage systems.

Experts also have an upbeat outlook on the future water industry, as the global water industry is expected to grow 4.2 percent to $689 billion in 2018 from $556 billion in 2013, according to a recent report published by the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

“Water demand will increase in the global market on the back of a rising population and economic growth in emerging countries. That will create opportunities for the Korean water industry, a market that is likely to further mature,” the report said.

K-water also plans to invest in the research and development of water resources management to respond to the growing water demand.

The state-run water resources developer said it would invest in the development of new water sources such as underground water, rainwater and desalination.

The corporation will further invest in an ICT-based water management system and facilitate big data technology to create a smarter water management network, officials said.

By Shin Ji-hye (