This is the conclusion of the ‘Water Sector Export Index 1995-2021’ (WEX) report on the exports of the Dutch water sector. The Index for 2021 is 207 (the year 2000 = 100), up from 202 in the previous year. The sector is positive about the future and expects its export activities to further expand in 2022 and 2023.

The Water Sector Export Index (WEX) is an indicator that shows the yearly export trends in the Dutch water sector. The WEX specifically targets the delta management sector and water technology sector. The latest WEX Report gives new and more definitive figures for 2021, the preliminary figures for 2022, and the forecast for 2023.

Export opportunities predominantly in Europe and North America

The report reveals that an important part of Dutch water sector exports is to Europe and North America. Markets in neighbouring countries are becoming increasingly important. Both delta management and water technology companies see opportunities in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany. Outside Europe, the United States, Canada and Bangladesh are important countries for market opportunities.

Important global water topics are climate change and sustainability. Some of the other themes mentioned are nature-based solutions, clean drinking water, the energy transition, water reuse, and soil and agriculture.

The water sector export market share of total Dutch exports declined in 2021, but this is a reflection of the very strong recovery of all Dutch exports and the relatively stable export efforts of the water sector.

Future economic outlook is promising

The WEX Report shows that the water sector bounced back after the decline in 2020 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the geopolitical situation in Europe and the subsequent energy crises, the Dutch water sector is optimistic about export opportunities and indicates that the economic outlook for the water sector in 2022 and 2023 looks promising. The report reveals an expected growth rate in the export of water activities in 2022 of over seven percent. The outlook for 2023 is estimated at eight percent growth.

Cooperation and better marketing of Dutch expertise are critical

In general, the water sector is positive about the opportunities in 2022 and 2023. That said, the contributors to the WEX emphasise that cooperation with companies abroad as well as with other sector participants, both in the Netherlands and abroad, is critical for a successful export strategy. 

Further, building and maintaining international relations and networks, as well as investing in innovation are vital in maintaining a competitive edge on the international market. There are several ways to do this such as through demonstration projects and pilots, and good marketing and promotion of Dutch expertise in water.

About the WEX 1995-2021 report

The research for this edition of the WEX was finalised at the end of 2022.

The research was carried out by Panteia, commissioned by the Netherlands Water Partnership, in collaboration with Water Alliance and Topsector Water & Maritime. It is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

The full report, in Dutch, can be requested via the NWP website.

Water Sector Export Index 1995-2021
From left to right: Hein Molenkamp, Managing Director Water Alliance; Martien Beek, Head of Division at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management; and Caroline Bäcker, Director and Chair of the Board.

This news item was originally published on the website of Netherlands Water Partnership