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Bluefield Research

Investor-Owned Utilities in Water: Market Share and Company Rankings

Investor-Owned Utilities in Water: Market Share and Company Rankings

New report now available for purchase and immediate download

The U.S. water and wastewater utility landscape is heavily fragmented across 48,587 community water systems (CWSs) serving 313 million people and 23,481 wastewater treatment facilities serving an estimated 267 million people. But within this landscape, an evolving roster of investor-owned utilities (IOU) is reshaping the market by carving out regional and national positions—regulated and non-regulated—through M&A and organic growth.

Currently, IOUs (publicly traded, private equity backed, privately owned) serve an estimated 5% of the U.S. population, of which 78% of their assets serve fewer than 3,300 people.

As city managers and utility leaders confront growing concerns over workforce constraints, regulatory issues (e.g., PFAS), and mounting capital investment needs, IOUs present an alternative approach to critical water and sewer infrastructure management. Their strategies are underpinned by their taking on financial and operational responsibility of water and wastewater assets through M&A that, in some states, is bolstered by favorable policies, such as fair market value legislation.

This market Insight Report examines the state of private participation in the regulated water and wastewater utility sector, profiling and breaking down market share among the 20 leading IOUs, plus key drivers and trends to watch going forward. 

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