During the second day of iWater, the international complete water cycle fair, Angel Simón, President of iWater and Executive Vice-President of SUEZ in charge of the water activity in Europe, highlighted “water as one of the key elements for the planet’s future”. In this respect, the future management of the water resource entails the key elements of “governance, resilience and financing”. He moreover pointed out other essential elements for the future of the sector, such as technological innovation and cooperation.
These concepts were the focus of a large part of the events held at the Iwater Forum. In particular, in various events on the governance model and public-private partnership (PPP), the importance of managing water with criteria of efficiency was addressed, in addition to the complexity of water management to meet the needs of a growing population, which will make the use of technology crucial.
In this context, Samuel Loyson, SUEZ Chief of Smart Metering, explained the technological progress represented by smart water meters: “Through Smart Metering technology, we can advise the consumer on more sustainable consumption. It moreover allows the economic impact and the impact of CO2 emissions to be assessed". SUEZ recently set up Dynapsis, a network of smart meter control centres of the European Union, which was presented by its leaders, Farrokh Fotoohi and David Hernandez, who explained that the group “has the solutions necessary to achieve more sustainable water management in cities”.
Another of the innovations highlighted in relation to cities was CitySensia, an environmental monitoring solution. As presented by Agustín Torres, Director of Business Development of SUEZ Advanced Solutions, “over 80% of the urban population is affected by pollution levels higher than those recommended by the WHO” and, in view of this situation, CitySensia makes it possible “to support decision-making in urban planning, such as deciding where to locate a school or a park”.
All these initiatives permit progress to be made toward more sustainable development. On a round table on the Sustainable Development Goals, Nerea Plaza, SUEZ Sustainable Development Manager in Spain, talked about the opportunities that this represents: “they are infinite and depend on the commitment of all those involved”, and said that they are focused on “innovative solutions for specific challenges, based on the needs of each territory and taking into account the role of the citizens”.
Fernando Rayón, SUEZ Business Innovation Manager in Spain, stressed the importance of meeting the needs of the citizens. For example, he set out the case of Sity, a joint collaborative project of Aigües de Barcelona, Incubio and the citizens, the aim of which is to introduce tangible improvements to the standard of living of citizens. With this project, “the city provides the technological platform and the knowledge of the citizens and Aigües de Barcelona contributes its knowledge of the city and operating capacity".
In the setting of the Circular Economy Summit, Jean-Marc Boursier, Senior Executive Vicepresident in charge of Recycling and Waste Recovery activities in Europe of SUEZ, participated on a round table on the management of plastic in cities. Jean-Marc Boursier highlighted the importance of recovering plastic, as “at present in Europe we only recover 25% and the objective for 2035 is to reach 55%". This round table presented some of the best practices of SUEZ to recycle the plastic generated and give it new uses.
For his part, in the session of talks on water and the circular economy, Joaquín Pérez Novo, SUEZ Advanced Solutions Spain’s Director of Private Market, explained that smart water and the circular economy model are the only response possible to confront the increase in demand for water over the coming years. For his part, Javier Carrillo Albornoz, Director of Industry, Paper and Automotive Market of SUEZ Advanced Solutions, stated that the wastewater from wastewater treatment plants can generate high-value water for different applications.
iWater awards for the best initiatives
This first edition of the fair presented the iWater awards for the best initiatives of the year in the water sector. The winners were: the European project Watintech for smart, decentralized management of water treatment infrastructures; the cloud software of the start-up Opticits Ingeniería Urbana to optimize the efficiency, quality and resilience of urban services; and the world’s first wastewater pumping system with integrated intelligence, Flygt Concertor, manufactured by Xylem, in the best research, idea and product categories, respectively. A special Award was likewise granted to the most outstanding solidarity initiative of the year to the Catalan NGO Proactiva Open Arms, which is working to rescue the refugees reaching the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea.