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Tapping in to lucrative market

One of life’s strange ironies is that one of the driest places on earth is showing the way in the water business.

South Australia has become a national leader in exporting water technology, selling nearly $400 million worth of ideas and innovations to Asia, the UK, USA, the Middle East and New Zealand in the last year.

It’s an irony which isn’t lost on David Williams, executive director of the State’s Water Industry Alliance, a business cluster of 160 water educators, researchers, manufacturers and consultants who collaborate to create export growth.

“I guess when you are the driest state in the driest continent it is not surprising that we should be world leaders in water technology,” Williams said.

“We’ve become very good at saving water, re-using waste water and practising efficient irrigation techniques.”

So successful has the Alliance been in its first seven years of operation that exports have grown by an unprecedented 30% per year.

“In 1998 when the Alliance was formed we were exporting around $50 million worth of water products, and this year we expect to export between $350 million and $400 million of water technology around the world.

“That sort of incremental growth puts us on track with the success the wine industry had in the 1990s,” Williams said.



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