Caring for our Earth in the face of the challenge of drought

Half of the world's population already suffers the impact of planetary degradation which, according to data from the United Nations Convention against Desertification, affects 40% of land areas.

Regarding drought, it should be noted that, since 2020, the number and duration of drought periods have increased by 29%, which makes it urgent to implement measures to prevent, as expected, By 2050 it will affect more than three quarters of the world's population.

And Spain is no stranger to this situation. What's more, it is one of the countries in the European Union where the drought is having the greatest impact.

Given this situation, within the framework of World Environment Day, which is celebrated today, the United Nations wanted to focus on restoring lands, stopping desertification and strengthening resilience to drought. Along these lines, it warns about the urgency of undertaking actions aimed at protecting and revitalizing ecosystems worldwide, both from the public and private sectors and always with the involvement of citizens.

In accordance with this call from the United Nations, Agbar, which is part of the Veolia group and in Spain supplies water to 13 million people and provides service in more than 1,100 municipalities, develops innovative solutions for the preservation of water and the care and restoration of the natural ecosystems, actions that are part of the group's strategy in the fight against climate change.

Water reuse

Along these lines, the company is committed to the circular economy with actions aimed, among other things, at the regeneration and subsequent reuse of water. In this way, it is possible to give a second life to wastewater, something of vital importance in the context of drought in which we find ourselves.

Therefore, after advanced treatment of the water for its regeneration, the water that comes from the treatment plants is destined for new uses for cities, agriculture or industry, such as the risk of green areas and agricultural fields or street cleaning. . This treated water can also be returned to the environment through rivers and aquifers and all of this contributes to reducing pressure on water resources and making less dependence on the weather possible.

Thus, for example, in the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona, ​​25% of the water consumed is already regenerated and comes from the Baix Llobregat ecofactory.

Naturalization of facilities

Beyond the reuse of wastewater, another of the key axes of Agbar's strategy to address the challenges posed by climate change is the naturalization of the facilities it manages to transform them into green infrastructures fully integrated into their natural environment, favoring thus its ecological functions and local biodiversity.

With this objective, Agbar has opted for the elimination of the use of phytosanitary products, the incorporation of action protocols to combat invasive exotic species and the preparation of the ecological footprint of those facilities that are located in sensitive areas, as well as the implementation of plans of biodiversity action.

Thanks to these measures, the circumstances have been created for the reintroduction of some species that are on the verge of disappearing, such as the white-headed duck in the Cabezo de Beaza treatment plant or the bigeye buzzard in the treatment wetlands of Begudà, Girona.

Nature-based solutions

Furthermore, within the framework of this strategy deployed by Agbar to contribute to the preservation of the environment, the company has resorted to solutions based on Nature (NBS), which are inspired by the functioning of ecosystems to preserve biodiversity and promote a more sustainable adaptation to the effects of climate change, which also allows increasing resilience and stopping the loss of biodiversity.

Along these lines, Hidraqua, which is part of the group, has created in Rojales, Alicante, an artificial wet area with regenerated water, which prevents discharges into the environment in episodes of torrential rain.

Thus, the company, which has had the collaboration of the city council, has built five artificial lagoons in the El Recorral park to, in this way, create a wetland rich in biodiversity. Likewise, natural spaces have been revegetated with native plants and wildlife refuges have been installed.

In addition, the regenerated water used to irrigate the green areas has favored the settlement and reproduction of aquatic species that establish themselves in the artificial lagoons, which have also attracted a large number of living beings, both birds and amphibians. , reptiles, mammals or invertebrates.

To all this we must add the work that Agbar carries out in the field of environmental awareness, promoting initiatives such as exhibitions, workshops or cleaning and waste collection activities on beaches, in which both the company's workers and citizens in general.

In short, given the situation of drought and progressive desertification in which we find ourselves, the promotion of actions to stop climate change and alleviate its effects is crucial and this requires the involvement of all people, each one from their own area.