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COVID-19 Updates News Business Water Issues
Expectations for new clean water, wastewater, infrastructure systems plummet globally, as pandemic shakes confidence: survey

March 31, 2020  By Ground Water Canada

Washington, DC – Despite the fact that social infrastructure and water projects – clean water, wastewater operations – are identified as top priorities from private and public sector entities around the world, a new infrastructure survey by CG/LA suggests industry leaders are not hopeful about an increase in infrastructure spending following the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.

In its Global Infrastructure Industry Survey, CG/LA Infrastructure found only five per cent believe that investment will “increase significantly” following the pandemic, a sharp decline from 34 per cent before the crisis. In total, only 27 per cent believe infrastructure investment would increase or increase significantly – a drop from 71 per cent, when asked previously.

Prior to the crisis only 10 per cent of respondents thought that infrastructure investment would decrease or decrease significantly, but now more than half believe that infrastructure investment will decline or decline significantly.


“The data shows that the outbreak of COVID-19 cases worldwide has essentially put a halt to infrastructure investment globally,” said Norman Anderson, chairman and chief executive officer of CG/LA Infrastructure, in a news release.  “It’s clear that more has to be done – whether it is building more hospitals or schools, or other key projects delivering high-quality benefits such as clean water and irrigation systems – particularly in developing countries. Given that infrastructure needs to be a driver of the global economic recovery, obviously these results are deeply troubling.”

A critical theme emerging from the survey is that 82 per centof respondents view infrastructure as weak or average. Only 18 per cent identified infrastructure as strong. The vast majority saw it as problematic, or characterized by incompetence and chronic corruption.

Overall, given the lack of public trust in the infrastructure brand there is an urgent need to address emerging markets infrastructure, the survey results suggest.

Among other findings:

  • 28 per cent selected social infrastructure (i.e., new hospitals, and schools) as their top priority, with 55 per cent listing it as one of their top three priorities.
  • Clean water was highlighted as the top priority by 14 per cent and was included in a top three priority by 48 per cent of respondents.
  • Transit and highways and wastewater were other top areas cited as in need of investment.

“As fears around the extent of the global recession increase, it is important that the U.S. government and multilateral institutions understand the depth of this problem,” Anderson said.  “Given this acute crisis, now is the time for leadership, an investment model that will allow local economies to recover, and real attention to the benefits that infrastructure brings to people – not just jobs, but health, and a sense of confidence in the future.”

The Global Infrastructure Industry Survey was conducted from March 19 to 30 with more than 13,000 global respondents in engineering/construction, finance, public sector and technology fields.

The full list of countries that participated in the survey (in alphabetical order) are Afghanistan, Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Nepal, The Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

CG/LA Infrastructure conducts an Infrastructure Leadership Forum Series, performs intelligence, rankings and analysis of market demand, and carries out special projects.

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