This paper defines challenges currently facing the water industry globally that will affect water industry asset investment and development now and in the near future. Those challenges include energy price volatility, climate change regulation, asset capital costs and strategic resource considerations. This paper presents potential answers to these challenges in the context of the UK water industry and described a methodology developed to assess them and provide accurate cost-benefit analysis. A best practice approach which allows sustainable investment to offer water utilities operational efficiency benefits, including cost benefits, is described and the critical elements of the best practice developed by the author identified.