Each project is being tracked in North American Public Water Plants and People, an online service from market analyst the McIlvaine Company.

According to McIlvaine, Canada and the USA have similar needs with exception of water recycling. In both countries a number of the projects are being designed to replace old plants. For example, Ames, Iowa, USA, plans a US$49.5 million water treatment plant. This plant will be at a new location and the existing plant will be retired. San Francisco, California, is spending $112 million for a new plant which will use ultraviolet disinfection, and Rosemount, Minnesota, has opted for a new $10 million plant.

The majority of the projects are for expansion of existing plants.

The USA differs from Canada in that there are a number of regions where water is scarce. Projects to treat and reuse water are often large. Castaic Lake Water in California will spend $100 million to treat effluent water for outdoor use, but Canada is treating brackish water.

A number of smaller projects involve improving the performance of the plant. Some of the typical investments include replacement of sand filters with membrane filter systems. Upgrading instrumentation and controls is also popular.

New York provides the biggest example of a performance upgrade. To meet the new requirements for 99% removal of bacteria, New York City is spending $2.8 billion spread over 10 separate contracts. Previously unfiltered water from the Croton watershed will be filtered and disinfected.