This summer has brought us a situation of water scarcity with few precedents, with unprecedented images in Europe and in other parts of the world. The effects of climate change are already undeniable. In Spain, one of the countries of the European Union most affected by climate change, water scarcity is a major challenge for much of the country, even in some areas that usually do not suffer from a lack of water.
The annual United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27), which will take place from November 6 to 18 in Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt), will ask countries for concrete actions on the ground and not just words. The historic Paris Agreement was signed more than six years ago and there is still much work to be done.
Agbar, part of the Veolia group, is a company committed to the fight against climate change. It offers innovative solutions for the sustainable management of water and natural resources for cities, agriculture and industry. Its roadmap is the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Spain, Agbar provides water service to more than 13.6 million people, in 1,100 municipalities.
Mitigation and adaptation
The company is part of the Veolia group, a world leader in ecological transformation, with activities also related to energy and waste recovery. Its climate strategy is based on mitigating the causes of global warming and adapting to the consequences of climate change.
Agbar reduced in 2021 26.5% of its total potential emissions (up to 515,396 equivalent tons of CO2), thanks, among various initiatives, to a greater purchase of green energy. In addition, the group managed to generate 90.02 GWh of renewable energy last year, 89% of which came from biogas generated at treatment plants, 9% from photovoltaic solar energy and 2% from hydraulic turbines. This energy was used in its own facilities and in its fleet of electric vehicles.
The company is committed to the circular economy. In this area, Agbar manages to recover 71.2% of the waste generated in treatment plants and 48.8% of that generated in water treatment plants. Likewise, Agbar reuses 128.7 hm3 of reclaimed water per year, of which 53% is used for agricultural purposes.
A pioneering project is the transformation of traditional treatment plants into biofactories, a model recognized by the United Nations as an outstanding project in the fight against climate change. Biofactories regenerate water for new uses, value all waste and produce renewable energy to be self-sufficient. The South Granada biofactory, managed by Emasagra, a subsidiary of Agbar, is an international benchmark.
On the other hand, the “Gavà Circular” project, led by Cetaqua and in which Aigües de Barcelona and the Gavà City Council collaborate, has recently been awarded at the World Water Congress, in Copenhagen for its potential to create a culture based on sustainable development through the flows of water, energy and waste. In this project, the initiative known under the name of Recaigua stands out, which consists of the construction and start-up of an intelligent groundwater recharge point for irrigation and street cleaning.
Innovation is the key to increasing the resilience of cities against the effects of climate change. In this sense, Agbar has developed the Dinapsis network that deploys benchmark digital solutions for the digital transformation of water management and environmental health in territories, promoting the development of smart, resilient and green cities. Likewise, the group promotes the implementation of green infrastructures through solutions based on nature, preserving biodiversity and ecosystems, both in urban and rural environments.