Water management in Italy involves two crucial cycles:

  • Potable water, which is extracted and distributed for human consumption;
  • Urban wastewater, encompassing collection, conveyance, and post-use treatment.

This requires an extensive infrastructure network, consuming significant energy. Furthermore, effective management involves treating wastewater to protect the environment and facilitate reuse, necessitating costly facilities.

Efficiency depends on robust infrastructure management and governance that integrate various activities. This ensures that service delivery aligns with principles of effectiveness, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Italy’s water supply is mainly centralized and publicly managed, although some private companies also play a role. Around 150 water utilities oversee integrated water services, from collection to treatment.

Water Usage in Italy

Over five years, the total volume of water withdrawn nationwide amounted to approximately 30.4 billion cubic meters. This includes:

  • Civil water usage
  • Irrigation
  • Industrial water

In Italy, the usage of water resources is distributed as follows:

  • 56% for irrigation
  • 31% for civil use
  • 13% for industrial manufacturing

Enhancing monitoring systems for water withdrawals in the civil, industrial, and irrigation sectors is crucial for water management in Italy. It helps:

  • Protect the water resource
  • Improve its efficient use

Despite Italy’s abundant water resources, it ranks among the top countries globally for water wastage. This is evident from a daily per capita consumption of around 245 litres.

Market Trends and Emerging Opportunities

Italy’s hydrological cycle is undergoing significant changes due to climate change, which has led to:

  • A noticeable rise in the number of areas affected by extreme drought conditions over the last 70 years.
  • A 20% reduction in annual water availability compared to previous decades.

Currently, Italy’s annual water availability stands at approximately 133 billion cubic meters, underscoring the critical challenges in water management in Italy.

Urban areas are particularly affected, experiencing higher temperatures and reduced precipitation. However, not all withdrawn water reaches the drinking water distribution system. This is due to losses during the supply and treatment processes. Italy faces a substantial leakage challenge, with 42.2% of water lost to leaks.

This issue is exacerbated by ageing infrastructure. Despite its abundant water resources, Italy struggles with sustainable water management. Climate change, periodic droughts, and rising demand hinder effective management.

Addressing these challenges requires the adoption of sustainable practices and investment in innovative technologies.

Regions in Italy Requiring More Investment

Investments in the water sector are showing a positive trend, characterized by:

  • Variations Across Management Types and Regions: The level of investment varies depending on the type of management and the geographical area.
  • Increased Spending by Industrial Operators: In 2021, the expenditure per capita by industrial operators rose to €56, up from €54 in the previous period. This trend of increasing investment started in 2012 and is anticipated to carry on, with a forecasted increase to €63 per capita in the years ahead. 

However, investments per person by economically managed entities have remained stagnant. Nevertheless, all figures still fall below the European average.

The quality of water services is improving. This improvement is evident in reduced network losses and fewer sewer flooding incidents. However, there are regional disparities in quality, particularly in the South. This results in a “water service divide.” For instance, the South experiences much higher rates of service interruptions compared to the North. Additionally, network losses are more pronounced in this region.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR)

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) incorporates measures for sustainable water resource management and enhancing water quality. These efforts aim to ensure water safety, reliability, and sustainability. They involve completing infrastructure projects, improving water quality, and effectively allocating resources across sectors.

With €4.38 billion allocated, the PNRR plays a pivotal role in driving investments and advocating for governance reforms. Additionally, €476 million from the React-EU program will reduce losses and modernize networks in southern Italy.

Financial instruments like FSC 2021-2027 and CIS Water Common Good can contribute to strategic projects for resilience and service quality.

Access to innovation is crucial for addressing climate change and water conservation challenges. The capital market and venture capital offer opportunities for technological advancements in the water sector.



Proaxxes facilitated Samotics in establishing connections with the leading Italian water utilities, enabling them to showcase their innovative system aiming to conduct a pilot to test their technology.

Water Alliance

The Water Alliance in the Netherlands is a unique partnership of public and private companies, government agencies, and knowledge institutes focused on water technology. It covers the full innovation chain, from initial ideas and research to specialized laboratories, a water application center, demonstration sites, and global applications with commercial firms. Proaxxes is the partner of Water Alliance for representing its interests in Italy.


Proaxxes crafts tailored market entry strategies for a sustainable presence in Italy, aligning with your goals and resources.

Connecting you with key market players to build valuable relationships and expand your reach.

We provide comprehensive management and coordination for your operations in Italy, leveraging local expertise to navigate cultural differences and capitalize on business opportunities.