Universality

ACCESS TO WATER AND WASTEWATER TREATMENT REMAINS A MAJOR CHALLENGE WHICH REQUIRES THE MOBILISATION OF ALL PARTIES. IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, SINCE 1990, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT HAS BEEN WORKING WITH THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES WHO HAVE PLACED THEIR TRUST IN IT TO GIVE 11.8 MILLION PEOPLE ACCESS TO DRINKING WATER, AND 5.7 MILLION PEOPLE ACCESS TO WASTEWATER TREATMENT SERVICES. THIS IS STILL TOO LITTLE, AND SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT IS COMMITTED TO WORKING ALONGSIDE GOVERNMENTS, LOCAL AUTHORITIES, INSTITUTIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS TO PROMOTE UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO WATER, THROUGH KNOW-HOW TRANSFER AND BY DEPLOYING SOLUTIONS TAILORED TO SPECIFIC LOCAL CONDITIONS.

 SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND DEVELOPING RESEARCH

CONTRIBUTING TO THE SHARING OF KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICES

WIKTI – a recognized methodology: developed by SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and certified to ISO 9001, the Water International Knowledge Transfer Initiative (WIKTI) aims to transfer the know-how of an international operator to a local company, in order to strengthen the skills of its teams and improve their knowledge. This method, which is based on the analysis of 38 business processes, a system of business benchmarks and the annual measurement of knowledge transfer, is currently used in Algeria and in Saudi Arabia:

    • the agreement signed in 2005 has enabled the Société des Eaux et d’Assainissement d’Alger (SEAAL – Algiers Water and Sanitation company) to train its 4,600 employees, 27 full time experts from SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT who worked daily with SEAAL personnel. Since 2006, more than 50,000 training days have been given.
    • the agreement signed in 2008 for the management of Jeddah’s water and wastewater treatment services must be capable of offering the population a high quality service, although water resources are particularly limited. “The idea, from the beginning of our collaboration, was to devise an ambitious plan for training and knowledge transfer to all employees.A total of 1400 local staff have been trained, and thus contribute to the development of a sustainable local expertise” explains Raed Mahmoud, Human Resources Manager, Jeddah City Business Unit.

Operational training for managers in developing countries: the International Executive Masters programme, taught in Montpellier, France, was founded as part of the “Water for All” Chair, created by the SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT – Water for All Foundation in partnership with ParisTech (The Paris Institute of Technology). This practical 12-month training course is intended to strengthen the managerial and technical skills of the water and wastewater treatment management teams in developing countries.

THE VIEWPOINT OF

YENIZANGA KONE, 1ST YEAR MASTER’S 2009-2010 AND PRODUCTION MANAGER WITH THE SOCIÉTÉ MALIENNE POUR LA GESTION DE L’EAU POTABLE (MALI WATER BOARD – SOMAGEP)

“Making all existing water works and new water production and distribution extensions operational is a sizeable challenge; with Master OpT, organising all the management procedures for the services over this area of more than 500,000 inhabitants is my challenge”.

Creation of a research laboratory in China: SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has a network of more than 270 scientific organizations, based throughout the world. In 2006, China’s first Research and Development Centre devoted to industrial waste water and hazardous waste was opened in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCPI), Asia’s largest industrial petrochemicals site. The research programs are conducted with two of Shanghai’s universities: Tongji University and Eastern China University of Science & Technology.

DEVELOPING WATER RESEARCH AND KNOWLEDGE

The AMPERES program, to improve water “health”: more stringent environmental demands are generating new concerns and new research topics. The objective of the AMPERES [“Analyse des Micropolluants Prioritaires et Émergents dans les Rejets de station d’épuration et les Eaux Superficielles” - Analysis of Priority and Emerging Micropollutants in Water Purification Station Discharges and Surface Water] program was to detect micropollutants, learn more about the role of water purification stations in their elimination and assess the most promising technologies. Conducted by the Cemagref and SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and co-financed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (National Research Agency), it showed that current wastewater treatment plants eliminate almost 85% of priority micropollutant substances discharged into rivers.

More recently, in November 2011, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT set up the Water Environment & Health Advisory Council, bringing international experts (Pasteur Institute, INERIS, Universities of Bonn, North Carolina, Duke, etc.) together to throw light on the strategy and prospective consideration by the company of the prevention, detection and treatment of the health and environmental risks associated with water.

 

PROMOTING ACCESS TO WATER AND WASTEWATER TREATMENT

The issue of access to requires financial, technical and social solutions.

GUARANTEEING SUSTAINABLE ACCESS TO SERVICES: MOVING TOWARDS PROGRESSIVE PRICING

In partnership with local authorities, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has introduced new “social” pricing schedules guaranteeing access to water for all households. This is the case in Libourne, in France, where progressive pricing has been in use since 2010. It is based on a scale of charges which distinguishes between three levels of consumption –“vital water”, “useful water” and “convenience water”– with the price charged being increased for each level. Supplementary support systems are also offered, such as “Chèques Ô” (“Water cheques”) in France, particularly in Orléans. In Chile, the local authority and Aguas Andinas jointly allocate subsidies in order to guarantee monthly payment for a consumption of 15 m3 for low-income households. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is offering to bring these approaches into general use for its customers.

THE VIEWPOINT OF

GILBERT MITTERRAND, CHAIRMAN OF THE LIBOURNE METROPOLITAN AREA COMMUNITY AND FORMER MAYOR OF LIBOURNE (1989-2011)

“In Libourne, our Water Charter, adopted in February 2009, introduced “universal pricing” which goes beyond “social pricing”: it defines a water status (“collective good, water is not a commodity and cannot be priced”) and considers access to water to be a fundamental human right, regardless of an individual’s economic and social conditions. It stems from this that water (which does not have a price) and the water service (which, however, does have a cost) cannot be priced for an allocation of “vital” water (15 m3 free). Beyond this, water still does not have a price but generates a progressive pricing of the service depending on whether it is “useful water” (from 15 m3 to 150 m3), then “convenience water” (above 150 m3). This progressive pricing structure also encourages water preservation. The idea of universal pricing is imperative, regardless of the chosen management method. In the case of outsourced management, our Charter also demands capped remuneration by the delegatee for the utility at 4.5% of turnover, a solidarity fund supplemented by the delegatee by deducting 1% from its income and an eco-citizen fund for which the delegated company makes a contribution equal to the voluntary contribution by the users. Above all, it has generated a permanent control body for execution of the agreement, steered by the local authority and financed through a deduction of 2% from the operator’s turnover. Lyonnaise des Eaux, invited to tender, was able to meet the task. The free allocation of the first 15 m3 therefore became effective for all and invoices were reduced accordingly for all users. The introduction of our progressive pricing structure has preserved this reduction for 95% of them”.

 DEVELOPING ACCESS TO SERVICES: INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS ADAPTED TO LOCAL CONDITIONS

In the development of access to water for populations who do not have this vital service or to improve the quality of service, “customised” solutions are implemented. 

Continuous access to water, 24/7: this was the issue at stake in the contract signed by SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT with the Algerian authorities for managing the water and wastewater treatment services in Algiers. Thanks to the combined efforts of both partners, the entire population of Algiers now has 24/7 access to high quality water, in compliance with international standards, compared with only 8% in 2006. To achieve this, 130,000 leaks were repaired, while 220 km of piping and 50,000 water connections were replaced. In addition, 53% of the population of the Algiers Province is now connected to a water purification station, compared with 6% in 2006.
 
Participating in the development of innovative international financing: to promote access to water, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT is involved in an innovative programme developed by the “Partenariat Mondial pour l’Aide Basée sur les Résultats (GPOBA, based on the English acronym “Global Partnership on Output- Based Aid”). The objective of GPOBA –a multi-sponsor fund administered by the World Bank– is to test subsidy mechanisms for connection to essential services for disadvantaged populations, and to help them to be replicated on a grand scale. Two pilot operations were therefore implemented by subsidiaries of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, Lydec in Casablanca and Palyja, in Jakarta, in partnership with the local authorities and with financial support from GPOBA. They have already connected 15,700 low-income households in Casablanca and 5,042 [low-income] households in Jakarta.
 
“In Casablanca, the results-based aid mechanism (“output-based aid” or “OBA”) has contributed to connecting disadvantaged neighbourhoods to water and wastewater treatment services. Given that the financing is forthcoming once the connections are completed and independently checked, the OBA approach places household demand at the centre of the approach to extending services”, explains Xavier Chauvot de Beauchêne, principal specialist in water and wastewater treatment in the Middle East and North Africa region for the World Bank. “This mechanism also strengthens co-operation between the stakeholders in order to overcome the obstacles involved in network development in informal settlements. Finally, this encourages operators like Lydec to set up support programs as part of their customer service. All stakeholders have agreed in saying that this approach has been a success, both in terms of results and methodology”, he concludes.
 
Rehabilitation and repair of the water service after a natural disaster: following the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, restoring access to water was an essential precondition for reconstruction. After the humanitarian phase, Haiti’s Direction Nationale de l’Eau Potable et de l’Assainissement (DINEPA – National Drinking Water and Water Treatment Agency) launched an invitation to tender for operational support, through which SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT was selected1: its three subsidiaries –AGBAR, Lyonnaise des Eaux and United Water– will therefore work with DINEPA for three years to restore the water services.

 

1 Under the contract, which relied on international financing (IDB, AECID), SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT waived all profits.