Protecting resources involves acting at every stage of the water cycle and mobilising all the parties involved: urban population, industrialists, farmers, associations, etc.
In Europe, approximately 40% of surface water and 30% of ground water risk failing to achieve the “environmentally friendly status” target defined by the European directive for the period up to 2015. With its clients, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is implementing solutions to progress in this area and reduce the level of pollutants being discharged into the natural environment.
Using MAGES to avoid pollution: this IT tool will enable the Syndicat Interdépartemental pour l’Assainissement de l’Agglomération Parisienne (SIAAP – the Paris Wastewater Treatment Authority) to act as “flow pointer”, with permanent monitoring 24/7. In the event of storms, the system will prevent the network and water purification stations from becoming saturated. This application has led to a 15-30% reduction in the amount of polluted water being directly discharged into the Seine. A similar system has also been developed for the Barcelona
Implementation of the wastewater treatment plan for Santiago in Chile: thanks to an ambitious investment and construction program for water purification facilities spread over 10 years, Aguas Andinas will enable the Santiago region, an urban area with 6.2 million inhabitants, to purify 100% of its wastewater in the 1st half of 2012, whereas the country only treated 3% in 1999.
Remote meter reading in Malta: to overcome the water shortfall, the Government is involving every citizen in a controlled management approach for the resource. The SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT remote metering system, which will be fitted in all Maltese homes through a partnership with IBM, will allow the 400,000 inhabitants to monitor water consumption in real time and quickly spot any abnormal consumption patterns.
A contractual model giving priority to environmental efficiency: remuneration for operators based exclusively on the volumes of water consumed no longer has any meaning once preservation of water resources and management of consumption are at the heart of the priorities. Lyonnaise des Eaux is offering its customers a new contractual model based on environmental, technical and social objectives:network efficiency, quality of the water distributed, quality of discharges at the water purification station, etc. Lyonnaise des Eaux’s performance at Agde and Bry-sur-Marne is therefore being measured using indicators, and part of its remuneration will depend on this scheme’s progression.
“La Maison de l’Eau” (The Water House) at Bordeaux (France): established in 1998, it aims to develop eco-citizen behaviour through an educational package delivered by four tutors. Almost 30,000 people have been made aware of the challenges of water and sustainable development; almost 350 local area operations were conducted in 2010, with the intention of maintaining a direct dialogue with the general public and schoolchildren, from infant school to post-baccalauréat level.
Agriculture alone accounts for 70% of worldwide water consumption. To support moves towards sustainable agriculture, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is engaging with farmers with practical solutions.
Improving the efficiency of irrigation systems: in countries faced with frequent droughts, irrigation management is a key part of preserving water resources. In Spain, RegControl, developed by Agbar, is controlling the irrigation process in real time, while adapting itself to the specific features of each crop.
Protecting water catchment areas: agricultural practices are essential for maintaining and improving the quality of water masses and ecosystems. In France, the signature of tripartite agreements between Lyonnaise des Eaux, local authorities and the agricultural world is moving these practices forward:
ALAIN GUILLEMIN, CEO OF TERRENA,THE LEADING FRENCH AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE (22,000 MEMBERS)
“We have decided to create a joint venture company with Lyonnaise des Eaux, because we believe that agriculture has to face up to an immense challenge: producing better and more with less. The protection of catchment areas, recycling of organic matter from stockbreeding effluents and agricultural water management will be at the heart of this company’s mission, which wants to contribute to inventing a new agriculture”.
The largest American wastewater recycling program is taking place in California: since 1995, United Water and the West Basin Municipal Water District have been committed to increasing the volume of recycled wastewater. With the objective of replacing half the drinking water imported with recycled water. 5 different qualities of water are produced each day, meeting the needs of 300 users: water supplies for refineries such as Chevron and Exxon, groundwater recharging, watering golf courses and parks, etc.
In Milan (Italy), producing suitable water for the agricultural world: the wastewater recycling plant supplies water in quantity, including during periods of drought and for crop irrigation. Ultraviolet disinfection guarantees that the treated water is harmless and authorises its use on vegetable crops. This technology thereby assures the irrigation of 22,000 hectares.
Desalination in Perth and Melbourne (Australia): in Australia, a continent seriously affected by the effects of climate change, the aim of the Perth and Melbourne desalination plants built by SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is to provide clean soft water for more than 1.5 million inhabitants, whilst also safeguarding the environment. In Perth, the brine discharge system has been studied in depth by the Water Research Laboratory (University of New South Wales) to avoid impacting on the protected marine zone downstream.
Together with the mobilisation against climate change, the preservation of biodiversity is an immense challenge. Alteration of habitats, Over-exploitation of species, Destruction of ecosystems, etc. – action must be taken urgently before it is too late.
Confronted with the growth of invasive plant species, United Water has rolled out a volunteer action plan covering the natural spaces under its control in New Jersey. The use of ladybirds, which are very fond of invasive herbaceous species, and the mechanical collection of water chestnuts are preserving the habitat and the development of indigenous plants.
In France, the partnership signed in 2009 with France Nature Environnement –which brings together 3,000 associations acting to protect the environment– has enabled genuine advances to be made: fauna/flora inventories and ecological restoration operations launched in wetlands, as well as the drafting of a methodological guide, the objective of which is to facilitate cooperation with farmers, local property owners, local authorities, businesses and associations.