Water at the centre of everything

The best technology applied to water and management of the integrated urban water cycle. Global Omnium has been working in the arteries (supply) and intestines (sanitation) of Valencia for years. Wherever its services are in demand, the company aspires to contributing its expertise and technology to the design of healthier, more sustainable, socially-just cities that are better prepared to respond to the challenges of climate change. Our research programmes have continued over the past year despite the constraints and limitations imposed by the pandemic. The company’s specialists are currently working on around thirty research projects focusing on the use of more sustainable technologies and products, decarbonisation, nitrate reduction/recovery, climate change, biodiversity, etc.

The pandemic has once again highlighted the importance of water in our lives, both as an essential instrument to curb the spread of the virus and as a key player in the recovery plans being drawn up by institutions. One year after the outbreak of the pandemic, face masks and frequent hand-washing continue to be the most effective preventive weapons against the virus, pending the long-awaited vaccination. It is in countries and environments where access to safe drinking water is poor, or simply non-existent, that the virus will continue to rage, depriving their inhabitants of a basic resource and, as we have seen, a strategic one in terms of health. It is in this context that certain Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), require priority attention and justify the call for access to water to be a universal human right, as demanded by groups, businesses and institutions all over the planet.

Meanwhile, in the big cities of what a few years ago was called the “first world”, water supply services have remained operational despite the pandemic. Water supply managers have set up contingency plans and mobilised human teams to guarantee supply. In places like Valencia, the digitisation and technological solutions implemented by Global Omnium have facilitated an immediate response to changes in consumer habits arising from the pandemic. Domestic consumption in households skyrocketed overnight, while industrial use and the demand of large consumers fell, putting pressure on the capacity of supply networks and infrastructures.

It is also worth highlighting the fact that, in accordance with the 2030 Agenda, public and private water supply managers, under the supervision of and in collaboration with public authorities, have worked together to prevent anyone from being left behind, by ensuring no interruption of the supply to hundreds of families hit by the unemployment associated with the crisis.

Global Omnium has also developed both a pioneering early warning system (SARS-GOanalitycs), which can forecast “peaks” in the pandemic almost 15 days in advance, and the PCR-Group, a tool capable of determining with a single test the presence or absence of the virus in factories, apartment blocks, nursing homes, buildings, etc. These tools also place water at the heart of the collective response to the threat of the pandemic. It is not just a matter of having a high-capacity laboratory to analyse samples, such as Global Omnium’s GO-Lab, but availing of this data to the utmost and linking it to other data obtained from networks and sensors, using artificial intelligence, algorithms, machine learning, etc. All these technologies multiply the possibilities and effectiveness of any intervention. Undeniable achievements such as these would not have been possible without the prior establishment of a research ecosystem and a vocation for innovation. The result is tools such as those featured in Nexus Integra, and group subsidiaries such as Idrica, a company with a strong international vocation.

Our research programmes have continued over the past year despite the constraints and limitations imposed by the pandemic. The company’s specialists are currently working on around thirty research projects focusing on the use of more sustainable technologies and products, decarbonisation, nitrate reduction/recovery, climate change, biodiversity, etc.

Aguas de Valencia-Global Omnium has been working in the arteries (supply) and intestines (sanitation) of Valencia for years. Wherever its services are in demand, the company aspires to contributing its expertise and technology to the design of healthier, more sustainable, socially-just cities that are better prepared to respond to the challenges of climate change.

Water features very strongly in the Spanish Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Circular Economy Strategy, the European Green Deal, the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan and the Valencian Draft Bill on Climate Change, etc., while digitisation has been given specific and priority importance in terms of the allocation of funds associated with the Recovery Plan for Europe.

In this context, the digitisation process undertaken by the company and its innovative nature place it in a privileged position to be a leading player in the plans and strategies launched in recent months by the European Commission, and the governments of Spain and Valencia. These plans and strategies are aimed at addressing both the crisis arising from the pandemic and climate change, which an increasing number of experts and leaders see as the great threat.

VALENCIA: GLOBAL BENCHMARK IN WATER TECHNOLOGY AND RESEARCH

The wastewater arteries of the city of Valencia, the pipes hidden beneath the asphalt, have proven to be the best partners for prevention and the provision of information on the health of its citizens. With a population of over 1.5 million and more than 2,000 samples analysed three times a week at 28 points since May, it is undoubtedly the city with the capacity to interpret the greatest amount of information from wastewater, by cross-referencing this data with health, demographic and epidemiological data. Elisa Valia, the city’s water councillor, has shared the information on a weekly basis and has implemented immediate measures to increase effectiveness, in collaboration with other municipal areas. Valencia has set an example that has been exported to many other Spanish cities and to other parts of Europe, the United States and Asia.