Skip to content

Water Technology Company of the Year

For the company which made the most significant contribution to the field of water and digital technology in 2021.

Schneider Electric

What is it?

A global provider of automation and control systems for a range of industries including the water and wastewater sectors.

What has it done?

Schneider made a quantum leap in 2021 in its strategy to lead sustainability and digital transformation in water, striking hugely effective partnerships with sector heavyweights to offer digital solutions for the whole water cycle and launching transformational new software solutions. Its big picture thinking did not distract it from other compelling opportunities, with 2021 also seeing it join with Royal HaskoningDHV to develop next-generation process controls for the latter’s Nereda process.

What makes it special?

Schneider’s prowess in the digital water sector was underlined by the release of the new version of its EcoStruxure Automation Expert offering, which manages full automation of the water and wastewater lifecycle. Water operators now have the freedom to break their dependency on proprietary hardware suppliers as the automation software can be separated from the hardware. The world’s first software-centric industrial automation system is a game-changer in driving sustainability for future-proof water and wastewater plant operations.

2021 saw Schneider add Suez’s Aquadvanced software to its portfolio as part of a joint venture, which enables Schneider to leverage water industry-specific software and Suez’s first-hand experience on how to run a plant and network. The partnership has hit the ground running, with implementation already underway in Italy and Argentina.


Very few match Schneider’s scale of thinking in the digital water space: 2021 saw it deploy Aveva’s Unified Operations Center, embedding Aquadvanced, for water and wastewater – a system of systems connecting OT/IT for enterprise-wide business optimisation in Brazil, UK, Thailand and Malaysia.


Gradiant Corporation

What is it?

A developer of multiple technologies aimed at solving the toughest challenges in the industrial water sector.

What has it done?

Tripling revenues in 2021, Gradiant conquered the Asia Pacific region with its enviable portfolio of industrial water treatment technologies, planting its flag in new applications such as lithium mining, semiconductor fabrication, and high complexity industrial wastewater reuse. It achieved superstar status by capping off the year with a $105 million Series C funding round, implying an overall valuation that would make the firm one of water’s first $500 million “half-unicorns”.

What makes it special?

Gradiant’s counterflow reverse osmosis (CFRO) system has made membrane brine concentration a reality for global industrial and municipal sectors, but the application goes beyond minimising brine. At existing seawater facilities, CFRO can increase permeate output without new intake or pretreatment works. For new SWRO facilities, membrane brine concentration has made recovery rates of 60-75% viable, radically shifting long-standing design paradigms.

2021 saw Gradiant successfully roll out its SmartOps asset management and remote monitoring platform which offers continuous optimisation of systems with variable feedwaters, one of the biggest challenges for zero- and minimal-liquid discharge technologies. As well as providing a competitive edge for the company, it will also help its technology-as-a-service proposition flourish.


Gradiant keeps R&D at its heart and with a portfolio of over 250 patents and applications, the company addresses a broad range of emerging end-use applications. No other company has brought more solutions to the industrial sector’s difficult water treatment challenges in the last ten years.