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The strength of urban water systems in the face of the challenge of climate change

20/03/2020

The strength of urban water systems in the face of the challenge of climate change

  • World Water Day, celebrated this Sunday 22 March in the midst of the crisis caused by COVID-19, is a good time to assess the strength and resilience of our urban water supply and sanitation services

  • Although the challenges of water management are not the same in different parts of the world, there is a common roadmap, which includes social consensus and collaboration between public institutions and the specialized business fabric

World Water Day 2020 invites us to reflect on climate change and its direct relation to water management. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number 13 and 6 of the United Nations - "Climate Action" and "Clean Water and Sanitation" - call on society as a whole to join forces, promote alliances (SDG 17 Public-Private Partnerships) and offer viable solutions for the sustainable management of water in three dimensions: social, financial and environmental.

Climate change is a clear threat to humanity and water is the key factor on which the achievement of sustainable development will depend. What's the situation? According to United Nations data, the decrease in freshwater resources will be 40% by 2030. The UN World Water Development Report (2018) forecasts an increase in water demand of between 20 and 30% by 2050. In this scenario, the international organization declared the decade 2018-2028 as the Decade of Action for Water: Water and Sustainable Development, which implies an unequivocal recognition of water as a key factor. 

Although the challenges of water management are not the same in different parts of the world, there is a common roadmap, which includes social consensus and collaboration between public institutions and the specialized business fabric. The companies that manage the urban water cycle have highly qualified human teams with a proven vocation for service, the most modern technology and a remarkable capacity for innovation.

The extraordinary situation being experienced around the world these days because of COVID-19 is further proof of the strength and resilience of urban water supply and treatment systems. Despite the seriousness of the situation, which has paralysed daily activity worldwide, urban water services generally continue to be provided normally and contribute decisively to a situation that is not even more serious.

In the case of Aqualia, situated in the world's top ten private water management companies, the company collaborates with the water management system in 18 countries on 4 continents, making a decisive contribution to the social and economic development of the communities it serves.

In the current situation, as every day, the quality of the tap water is guaranteed. Aqualia carries out more than one million water quality analyses a year, with 99.95% of the analyses being "compliant". 

During the last year, the company produced 626,778,319 cubic meters (m3) of drinking water, an amount equivalent to filling more than 600 stadiums such as the Santiago Bernabeu with water. On the other hand, the company's work in the more than 800 treatment plants it manages, meant the annual production of 17.5 million m3 of biogas, enough to supply the fleet consumption of 10,000 vehicles.

Attention to citizens is one of the priorities for the company, which annually attends to almost 750,000 calls in Aqualia Contact, its customer service centre. 

In addition to its commitment to the efficient technical management of the services it provides, Aqualia is also involved in the social, cultural and educational needs of the areas in which it operates. This is borne out, for example, by the more than 16,000 people who benefit annually from the collaboration with Cáritas. 

Operators, readers, inspectors, administrators, plumbers, customer service managers,... Each and every one of the people responsible for the enormous task of bringing water to the taps in our homes and returning it in optimal condition to the natural environment deserves our recognition today more than ever. Thank you, everyone and Happy World Water Day!