Vision (December, 2023) 

Promote the provision of a sustainable service by Aqualia in relation to end-to-end water management, promoting innovative solutions that minimise the environmental impact and maximising the quality of service to people, using advanced tools for smart management to obtain eco-efficient results that help progress to be made achieving the SDGs (UN Sustainable Development Goals).


The context of Aqualia, like that of all organizations, is changing. As a society, we face multiple challenges, which are pushing us to develop a more sustainable economy, sustainable productive system and lifestyle.

Water, a vital resource, and sanitation, a critical service, are fundamental in the everyday context. When universal access to water should be consolidated in the 21st century, we see this essential resource threatened, today more than ever. 

The correct management of the end-to-end water cycle has an impact on many global objectives, as each environmental impact necessarily has social consequences. In our activity, we have learned that economic development must have a human approach, and to rediscover balance and well-being for all, innovation, in collaboration with others, is essential. 


Aqualia's innovation integrates the company's objectives, supporting a balanced growth of its water management services with innovative solutions that are respectful of the environment, compatible with social environments and financially viable. 
To structure innovation activities, two work areas have been established: 

  • ECO-EFFICIENCY, following the principles of the circular economy with efficient management of natural resources and the recovery of raw materials. 
  • SUSTAINABILITY, minimising energy consumption, avoiding pollution in an equitable social environment and protecting the climate and nature. 

Aqualia's main R&D&I lines of action are based on the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), to achieve continuous improvements in the management of the integral water cycle and ensure: 

  • The availability of health services (SDG 3), water (SDG 6) and energy (SDG 7) for all
  • Modern, resilient, and clean infrastructure (SDG 9), which protects the climate (SDG 13)
  • Inclusive, safe, and sustainable settlements and cities (SDG 11), with minimal disaster risks. 

Innovation in Aqualia's service focuses on the processes of water collection, purification and desalination and distribution, as well as the collection and treatment of wastewater to allow its reuse and the recovery of by-products, increasing the efficiency of services, thus guaranteeing:

  • Sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12) 
  • Efficient use of natural resources and sustainable management of ecosystems (SDG 15)
  • Cooperation and partnership between public or private interested parties (SDG 17)


As part of the performance of its operations, Aqualia adapts to the challenges facing today's society (climate, technology, digital and social factors) with research and development that: 

  • They rely on open innovation, collecting external and internal stimuli that contribute to the development of projects, from the identification of opportunities to the implementation of the results and their assessment.
  • They involve all the organisation's staff and interested parties, with a particular emphasis on highly specialist people exclusively dedicated to innovation.
  • They form part of European, national and regional R&D&I support programs, fostering Aqualia's projects, multiplying their impact and the company's resources.
  • They focus on results, through an organizational methodology and a management system to obtain new products and processes, optimizing and protecting their value.

To materialise this strategy, Aqualia's Innovation and Technology department has defined the methodology, priorities and organisation of the work outlined in the following sections.

Innovation implementation

7P Methodology

To manage work and optimize results, the activities of the Innovation and Technology department are structured into work stages, which provide dynamic feedback. 

  1. Planning (Management system): The UNE 166 002 standard defines the key elements of R&D activity: Objectives, indicators and procedures.
  2. Thinking (Creativity and generation of ideas): The creation of ideas is supported by external and internal sources of knowledge, analyzing and selecting the priorities most aligned with the needs of customers and production.
  3. Proposals (Select, prioritize, present): Depending on the needs and priorities, the ideas to be developed into proposals are determined, as well as the best collaborators and partners, in cooperation with Aqualia's production areas.
  4. Projects (Organize, implement, justify): To ensure success with the planned resources and in a timely manner, work teams and deliverables are managed in response to contractual requirements, involving our partners in the development of technologies and the implementation of demonstration projects.
  5. Products (Define, develop, optimise, transfer): To adapt the result to the market and optimize its return, interested parties are involved from the beginning in the technological transfer of development.
  6. Property (Description, protection, patents, maintenance): To maximise the potential of the results provided, the knowledge generated and intellectual property are protected.
  7. Promotion (Brands, market identification and access channels): To facilitate their identification, products are differentiated with attractive names, and external support is sought to define and quantify the market and introduce solutions.

Work organisation

The Innovation and Technology department is divided into two technical areas, one of each of the key aspects for the development of innovative technologies, thus maximising the efficiency and reliability of continuous water service (24 h/d and 365 d/year) to guarantee maximum quality in: 

  • Water, achieving and exceeding in real time compliance with applicable national and international standards (SDG 6).
  • Services, improving technical and economic viability, as well as minimizing environmental impact to exceed user expectations (SDG 3).
  • Resources (water, nutrients, bioenergy, etc.), optimising the value of the materials recovered through water treatment.

To ensure the quality standards of water and associated services, the most advanced management tools are used, focussing on improving the company's efficiency as well as compliance with the SDGs in the end-to-end water cycle, in order to:

  • Improve the comprehensive management of water resources with the development and implementation of intelligent technologies that allow better planning and control of processes.
  • Increase the safety and resilience of city and community infrastructure (SDG 11) with new solutions that minimize the impacts of demographic growth and climate change, and the consequences of pollution or natural disasters.
  • Provide information on water services in a transparent and appropriate manner to all actors involved in its management and use, to encourage their collaboration in the responsible consumption and reuse of water and resources (SDG 17).

In addition to the common challenge of avoiding and minimising the carbon footprint in the end-to-end water cycle (SDG 13), each of the two areas develops innovative actions in the real environment of the end-to-end water cycle. These specific objectives and lines of work can be differentiated for each area:



  • Development of cutting-edge technologies that promote the company's sustainability, protecting the environment and biodiversity (SDG 15).
  • Improvement of energy efficiency in the company's solutions and services (SDG 7).
  • Revaluation of by-products from the end-to-end water cycle (SDG 9).

Lines of work

  • Sustainable purification and recovery of resources, revaluing by-products of the end-to-end water cycle (SDG 9): development of nature-based and/or intensified technologies to minimise energy consumption and waste production, for decentralised purification in small and medium-sized clusters or the improvement of existing WWTPs. 
  • Reuse and advanced treatments, protecting the environment and biodiversity (SDG 15): Develop sustainable solutions for the regeneration and reuse of wastewater according to EU regulation 741/2020, integrate the requirements of the revised UWWTD 91/271 directive on advanced treatments, and adapt the plants to the new purification standard 2020/2184.
  • Energy sustainability to obtain affordable and non-polluting energy (SDG 7): Energy self-sufficiency and use of resources, allowing the production of biomethane, green hydrogen, fertilizers or bioplastics.



  • Develop advanced technologies that optimize the use of renewable resources (SDG 12).
  • Avoiding the generation of waste in the company's processes and services (SDG 11)
  • Search for solutions that allow growth in all water markets in accordance with eco-efficiency requirements. (SDG 8).

Lines of work

  • Sustainable purification and desalination, avoiding energy consumption and minimizing waste production, to promote the circular economy with the recovery of materials 
  • Circular economy, through biofactories for advanced purification and revaluation of waste, with the generation of new value chains (water, carbon, nutrients and bioproducts, etc.).
  • Decarbonization, with production and use of renewable sources and bioenergy, optimization of processes, reduction of the carbon footprint.

These areas are supported by the activity of Processes and Patents and by these two cross-cutting areas:

Management office

  • Project Management: The execution of R&D&I projects requires exhaustive planning and control. This involves forecasting expenses, their technical and economic justification, the preparation of documentation, communications with the corresponding Administration, as well as collaboration agreements, protection of results and their use.
  • Technological surveillance and Intellectual Property: Compilation and evaluation of information from conferences and presentations attended by members of the department, including surveillance reports. Management of Patent handling with the necessary legal support.
  • Communication: supervision of the internal and external communication actions required for the dissemination of projects, under the guidance of the Communication Department.
  • Management System: Compliance with the current management system to ensure certification with the UNE Standard 166.002; in addition to establishing the necessary measures to guarantee its continuous improvement.


Provides the technical assistance necessary for the execution of projects. Involved in the planning and monitoring of the construction of pilot projects, prototypes and demos, as well as in the development of detailed engineering. Selects and acquires equipment with help from the Purchasing Department. In charge of the relationship with contractors and supervises and evaluates the performance of works.