The Spanish Cabinet, on the proposal of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO), today ratified the Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE) for the Digitalisation of the Urban Water Cycle. This project seeks to transform and modernise urban, irrigation and industrial water management systems in our country.
This project promotes the use of new information technologies in the integrated urban water cycle for the purpose of improving governance and transparency, increasing efficiency, reducing losses in supply networks and meeting the environmental targets set out in hydrological plans and international regulations.
The PERTE to digitalise the water cycle, the third such project promoted by the MITECO, follows the PERTE on Renewable Energies, Renewable Hydrogen and Storage (ERHA) and the PERTE on Circular Economy presented at the beginning of this month. This new strategic project will lead to public and private investment of 3,060 million euros in the coming years and will drive the creation of around 3,500 quality jobs, opening up new professional niches in water management.
The approval of the project comes at a crucial time for the sector, which has been working for years to improve the management and governance of an increasingly scarce resource. Spain is one of the most water-stressed countries in the European Union. The latest IPCC report highlights something that has become increasingly evident: water and climate change are intrinsically linked. Forecasts point to decreases of up to 25% in the availability of the resource in the country as a whole in the coming years, and decreases of up to 40% in the south-east of the peninsula by the end of the century.
The most significant atmospheric and climate variations caused by climate change will mean greater uncertainty in the availability of the resource, making it vital to have precise information on reserves, supplies, current consumption and future demands in order to guarantee water security. “The use of new technologies to obtain accurate, up-to-date information in sectors such as the urban water cycle, irrigation and industry will give us a greater capacity to control and manage the resource”, pointed out Vice-president Teresa Ribera.
BOOST TO STRATEGIC SECTORS
The most significant line of action in the PERTE will develop aid programmes to promote the digitalisation of the different water users. The main objective of the subsidies is to advance in environmental protection, water resource management and the fight against climate change and demographic challenge.
To achieve this, several calls for applications for aid will be issued this year and next by public authorities and other bodies with competence in the areas of urban and industrial water, and irrigation and groundwater user communities. This line of action will feature direct investment of 1.7 billion euros, which will lead to further investment of 1.12 billion euros in the form of public-private partnerships.