Region/Countries: Czech Republic, Europe Industry: Water / Clean Technology Date: August 2016

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The market depends upon imported technologies which have primarily come from Europe, but could be supplied from Wisconsin.

Sewage, drinking water, flood and drought: Czech water management is facing great challenges, and is preparing for major investments to meet those challenges. The European Cohesion Fund will provide around $860 million to improve Czech water infrastructure over the next five years. Water and sewage treatment plant operators may apply for subsidies. Furthermore, in order to mitigate droughts, large water storage tanks are being built.

The Czech economy is one of the most dynamic in Europe. After GDP growth of 2.1 percent in 2016, the economy is expected to accelerate in 2017, with expected GDP growth of 2.6 percent). The persistent good economic situation with high tax revenues pushed the fiscal deficit to only 0.6 percent in 2016. This enables the Czech Republic to invest in infrastructure. To facilitate co-financing with EU funds in poorer communities, the State Environmental Fund raises the Czech counterpart in form of subsidies, loans and contributions to partial interest coverage in these regions.

In 2015, 94 percent of the Czech population was connected to drinking water pipelines and 84 percent of Czechs were connected to the sewage pipeline system. Especially in Central Bohemia, there is a need to catch up. Still today, about 200,000 people obtain their drinking water from springs. Currently there are about 250,000 wastewater treatment plants with a daily capacity of 3.9 million cubic meters. In the next few years, several projects in these areas will be realized. Furthermore, flood emergency plans and warning systems in Prague, Nymburk, Kolin, Melnik and Neratovice are approved and will be installed the next year. On top of that, the Czech Republic will invest an additional $495 million in irrigation systems, dams and embankments over the next six years.

The market demand for advanced technologies in the water and sewage branch is largely satisfied by imports, mostly from European companies. However, innovative Wisconsin companies may also enter business. In 2015, Wisconsin firms exported goods and services for $116 million to the Czech Republic, which corresponds to a 34 percent improvement compared to 2014. This was mainly driven by highly sophisticated electric products. In 2015, electrical products, applications and machinery of all branches (e.g., plant engines and equipment) worth $80 million were exported to the Czech Republic. In total, the country imported machinery worth $62 billion in 2015. Statistics specific the water sector are not available.

A good possibility for getting involved in Czech water and sewer projects is to attend the 20th Water Supplies-Sewerage trade show from May 23 to 25, 2017, in Prague (