Water management is at a crucial moment. Climate change has intensified the episodes of drought, temperatures are rising and when it rains, it is very irregular. Only a paradigm shift can safeguard this irreplaceable natural resource.
It is time to promote a new circular model, in which water will have infinite lives thanks to its constant reuse. A new era to take more and better care of nature. Faced with the climate emergency, it is necessary to accelerate the transition to a circular model. In water resources, this means reusing water, giving it new life.
World Water Day, which is celebrated today, Wednesday 22 March, focuses this year on the need to accelerate change to achieve sustainable management of water resources. Guaranteeing the entire population of the planet drinking water and access to sanitation by 2030, as established in the sixth of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is an ambitious and priority challenge. . The UN considers that to achieve this goal, we need to move four times faster than we are doing now.
Water is a scarce commodity, but essential for cities, agriculture and industry; and for the different species that live on Earth. In addition, the increase in population and food demand will lead to a growth in water resource needs of 20 to 30% by 2050. Spain is precisely one of the countries of the European Union with the most affected by climate change.
What can we do? The solution lies in regeneration, a method which consists in applying an additional treatment to the water from the treatment plants which allows it to be reused with all the health guarantees and to return it to nature or to use it for new uses such as the irrigation of green spaces or agriculture.
Veolia bets on recycled water
Veoliabenchmark for ecological transformation through its activities in the water, waste and energy sectors, has been a member of the group since 2022 Agbar, hub knowledge of water. The group is resolutely committed to the reuse of water, one of the most relevant issues in the current context of water scarcity.
According to Veolia’s first barometer of ecological transformation, in collaboration with the consulting firm Elabe, 85% of Spaniards think that the scarcity and depletion of resources are serious and imminent (compared to 77% in the world), and 62% believe that it is necessary to radically change our current way of life, thanks to the introduction of technological solutions.
Faced with this reality, Agbar, which provides drinking water to more than 13.6 million people in 1,100 municipalities in Spain, is promoting different initiatives to implement a new circular model in the management of water resources. An example is Aigües de Barcelona, which is part of the group, which presented a pioneering project to address the current water deficit in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, which affects the basins of the Llobregat and Ter rivers.
A funded project The next generation and an investment of more than 1,500 million euros which includes the adaptation of the two major wastewater treatment plants in the metropolitan area (the Baix Llobregat and the Besòs) to transform them into real “factories” of recovered water.
In the Region of Murcia, the Cabezo Beaza wastewater treatment plant in Cartagena, managed by Hidrogea, also from the group, treats 7,319 m3 of water per day, which is equivalent to supplying this precious resource to 4,300 hectares of crops. The water reuse system, in the case of this treatment plant, 100% focused on agricultural use, helps to mitigate the effects of drought in one of the main agricultural areas of Spain. Thanks to reused water, farmers in this region are able to produce more than 412,000 tons of vegetables such as lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli or melon per year.
In the Canary Islands, Canaragua, a company also part of Agbar, is a benchmark in water reuse applied to the tourism sector. The company, which manages ten treatment plants, manages to produce more than 4 hm3 of recovered water per year, the main use of which is the irrigation of municipal green spaces. In addition, the Las Burras wastewater treatment plant, located in the south of the island of Gran Canaria, supplies three golf courses with recovered water.
It’s time to accelerate the establishment of a circular model to give infinite lives to water. Reclaimed water ushers in a new, more sustainable era. Everyone — businesses, administrations, citizens, etc. — can contribute, each in their own way, to guaranteeing the availability of water for future generations.
Fountain: Ambientum writing