Region/Countries: Europe, Germany Industry: Water / Clean Technology Date: October 2018

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The German water technology market is the largest in Europe, and is still growing. Wisconsin companies can benefit from the strong partnerships that already exist between Germany and Wisconsin.

The German market for water technology is the largest in Europe. The country’s water supply and wastewater treatment sector together amount to about €20.5 billion annually. In 2017, private-sector companies in the German water supply sector generated sales of around €7.7 billion. The German water sector has a 100 percent connection rate and less than 7 percent water losses—the lowest percentage in the European Union.

Germany is the biggest exporter of water technology in Europe, and held a global market share of 11 percent in 2016 (the most recent figure available). Due to increasing global competition and the high priority of this sector for the German economy, the government subsidizes the internationalization of the sector. The most important organization in the industry is the German Water Partnership, with its global network that reaches every continent—including a partnership with The Water Council in Wisconsin.

As Germany’s population grows, demand for water continues to increase, which leads to continuous investment in water treatment solutions, technologies and plants. In Berlin alone, water companies will invest €2.3 billion in the coming years. Solutions are especially needed in the area of wastewater treatment. A further challenge that has not been sufficiently solved is the nitrate level in potable water. Solutions to prevent and reduce nitrate pollution are needed. This can be an opportunity for Wisconsin businesses.

The German Water Partnership is a strategic partner of Milwaukee and recently strengthened its collaboration with The Water Council. This cooperation will foster strategic partnerships between Wisconsin companies and German firms for water technology projects worldwide. In particular, the need is constantly arising for technological know-how and qualified water management solutions in developing countries, which can be an opportunity for Germany-Wisconsin technology and business partnerships. Wisconsin’s trade office in Germany is actively involved in this collaboration and can provide further information.

Further information on the German water technology sector can be found at the website of the Technology Center Water. Trade fairs are the best way to get to know the local market and establish contacts with businesses. “New Energy World” from Dec. 11-12, 2018, in Leipzig; “E-world Energy & Water” from Feb. 5-7, 2019, in Essen; and “IFAT” from May 4-8, 2020, in Munich are good opportunities for a sector overview and networking with potential business partners.