Innovation and sustainability – a guarantee of the future

The innovative COVID-19 City Sentinel tool is monitoring the presence of the virus in wastewater in more than 100 municipalities in Spain. We are carrying out the second stage of a pilot test with a pioneering AI-based technology to detect leaks and fraud in the drinking water supply network. We have managed to reduce CO2 emissions from our electricity consumption by almost 100%. The water sector is essential for sustainable economic and social recovery.

Emili Giralt Via, CEO at Agbar

Innovation and sustainability are two key elements of the action we are taking to secure the future of our planet. They are essential to the progress of society and vital in terms of addressing current and future challenges. The pandemic has reinforced this and has shown us that the challenges will only be overcome through innovation and sustainable development.

Businesses have a key role to play in providing responses to the current economic, social and health crisis, which comes on top of the climate emergency we were already struggling with prior to the pandemic.

Agbar, an environmental services company responsible for managing the water supply of more than one million homes, businesses and public authorities in Catalonia, has been a leading player in identifying responses to these challenges.

One of these responses has been the development of the COVID-19 City Sentinel solution as an epidemiological tool to detect, quantify and monitor the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater and enable early action to be taken in the case of outbreaks. This pioneering tool was chosen by the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, and the Ministry of Health for epidemiological surveillance, as a digital platform for delivering results and monitoring the evolution of the virus in wastewater.

This innovative solution is currently being implemented in more than 100 municipalities in Spain to monitor the wastewater of a population of over 13 million. The system has recently been upgraded to enable detection of the UK variant. Agbar’s network of laboratories has developed a rapid method (results in less than 24 hours) using PCR for the determination of this variant in wastewater.

With a similar emphasis on innovation, we are now carrying out a pilot test on the implementation of pioneering AI-based technology to detect leaks and fraud in the drinking water supply network.

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Published in: Nº77 FuturENVIRO February – March 2021