Washington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- September 20, 2013 - Smart water infrastructure aimed at addressing leakage from poor infrastructure, waste, and theft could save emerging market countries $12.3 billion annually if fully implemented, according to a new report from Northeast Group, LLC.

With 38 percent of all water produced lost to leakage, emerging market countries are however, starting to take note and deploy smart water infrastructure, the report finds. While financing remains the key hurdle to smart water development in emerging market countries, with infrastructure aging and scarcity growing more severe, inaction is no longer an option and the case for smart water is simply too compelling to ignore. The 72 emerging market countries across the globe in the study are projected to cumulatively spend $46.5 billion by 2023, allocated across smart water metering, smart water networks, smart irrigation and software analytics to optimize water use.

“Emerging market nations are struggling with water scarcity and cannot continue to ignore the full cost of water and water losses,” commented Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group. “Implementing smart water infrastructure is a critical step these countries must take to address their water challenges.”

The study calculates a “full cost of water” to account for implicit subsidies and infrastructure costs that are often not captured in utility tariffs. It uses this and current tariff costs to assess the savings potential for smart water infrastructure projects across 72 countries. The $12.3 billion savings potential conservatively assumes one-third the difference between current tariffs and the full cost of water in each country.