AGBAR obtains EsAgua Gold Category status for commitment to water footprint

AGBAR, a global leader in products and services for integrated urban water cycle management, has been awarded EsAgua Gold Category status by Cetaqua, Water Footprint Network and DNV for progress in the responsible use of water resources. The company has received this recognition within the framework of its commitment to the Red EsAgua network, an alliance of companies committed to sustainable water use and reducing water footprint. Companies participating in this network share a commitment to sustainable water management and can acquire EsAgua Category status based on their progress in this area.

The concept of water footprint, an indicator of the use of freshwater resources, fits perfectly with AGBAR’s activity, because the implementation of this indicator provides a transversal vision of sustainability and is applicable to industry, agriculture and the urban water cycle. Due to the nature of its activity, protection of freshwater is at the core of AGBAR’s business strategy. The responsible use of this resource is essential to guarantee quality and continuity of supply.

AGBAR teams transfer their experience and knowledge in sustainable water use to society, generating value in different industries, as well as in agriculture. But AGBAR not only stands out for the provision of technological solutions to optimise water footprint in strategic sectors. The company is also committed to the application of the water footprint concept in its internal activities. In order to obtain data on all potentially improvable processes, AGBAR has calculated the blue and grey water footprint associated with the company’s direct and indirect operations in the urban water cycle. This calculation has been carried out in accordance with the methodology established by the Water Footprint Network.

In 2020, all AGBAR facilities associated with the integrated urban water cycle were analysed from the point of view of blue water footprint. The direct grey water footprint associated with treatment, due to the discharge of treated effluents, was also included in the water footprint calculation. The inclusion of the grey water component made it possible to reflect the environmental benefits achieved through wastewater treatment. Moreover, the indirect blue water footprint benefits of reusing wastewater in urban, agricultural and industrial applications were also included in the 2020 water footprint calculation.

Aware of the scope of the company’s activity, which involves supplying drinking water to more than 21.5 million people throughout Spain, the second commitment of AGBAR’s Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development, REwater Global Plan, focuses on the preservation of water resources and pursues the goal of reducing water consumption per capita by the equivalent of 20%. “Only a circular economy model will enable us to respond to the water stress affecting our country”, says Dulcinea Meijide.

For this purpose, AGBAR has successfully developed a plan of measures to reduce its footprint, with the focus on water reuse and responsible water management throughout the cycle. Another important factor in achieving this reduction is advanced sewage network efficiency management in order to reduce non-revenue water (water lost in the supply process) and prevent the loss of resources.

The water footprint reduction plan includes the following measures, amongst others:

Promotion of water reclamation and reuse, either by proposing new reclaimed water projects to our customers, or by seeking new uses in municipalities with existing reclamation infrastructure.
Proactive leak detection campaigns using the latest available techniques.
Sectorisation of drinking water supply networks and pressure control to achieve better control and reduction of leaks.
Implementation of sewer cleaning trucks that use recirculated water in order to save drinking water.
Advanced asset management through sensor technology to improve leak control and hydraulic efficiency.
Awareness campaigns on proper use of the resource and water bills in all the municipalities where the company operates, as well as the implementation of educational programmes, such as Aqualogía, for schools.
Examples of this model include the Gavà-Viladecans wastewater treatment plant in Barcelona, where water reuse for agricultural purposes has reduced the municipality’s water footprint by 50%. The Canary Islands have reduced non-revenue water by over 30% in five years, which is the equivalent of the annual water consumption of a population of over 36,500 people.