World Water Day 2019: Veolia acts to improve access to safe and clean drinking water for all

The theme of this year's World Water Day, organised on 22 March, is ‘leaving no one behind’. All over the world, Veolia is taking action for more inclusive water governance.

Access to drinking water and sanitation facilities, which is a factor in public health, is a key driver of development. A United Nations report published in 2019 highlights a number of exclusion factors related to access to water, including gender, race, ethnicity, religion, caste, nationality, disability, age and health, place of residence, and economic and social status. Other factors, such as environmental pollution, climate change, population growth, forced displacement, and migratory flows, affect access to water for disadvantaged populations.

Veolia's goal is ‘to provide and maintain essential services for health and human developmentas part of its commitment to sustainable development. This goal reflects Veolia's commitment to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the collective effort to improve access to sustainable services. Since 2000, Veolia has provided 9.6 million people with access to drinking water and 4.4 million people with sanitation services worldwide, and since the SDGs were defined in 2015, these figures are respectively 3.9 million and 1.8 million.

Veolia is developing initiatives for more inclusive water governance all over the world.

In Guayaquil (Ecuador), Veolia operates a mobile water distribution network, called Aguas del Sinaí, which supplies drinking water to the 120 000 people living in the Monte Sinaí slum as the city does not serve these informal settlements. This project, launched in 2018, uses GPS control to ensure coverage of the population's needs and punctuality of supply with a 25 % price reduction of water.

We cannot be indifferent to the reality of the lives of poorest. We must find solutions to improve their access to water. The population of Monte Sinaí pays one to two dollars for 250 litres of water. Thanks to this system, they are will pay $0.75 for the same volume, which is a major saving for families. The increased frequency of water truck rounds facilitates their access to water, and we are currently building a new water delivery station that will allow other haulers to serve this area by reducing their trips and costs. This is a win-win solution for all.
Frédéric Certain
CEO of Interagua-Veolia

50 km from Dhaka (Bangladesh) , Grameen Veolia Water, a joint venture created ten years ago by Grameen Health Care and Veolia, supplies over 8 500 people living in the rural villages of Goalmari and Padua with drinking water through a 17-km distribution network serving 330 homes, three schools, and 53 supply points. This drinking water is also sold in 20-litre carboys to 300 businesses in the region.

Other Veolia initiatives worldwide

• In the Lyulin district on the outskirts of Sofia (Bulgaria), most homes are illegally connected to the water and sanitation networks. The Veolia Foundation supports the NGO Eau et Vie to find a solution for the local community to develop a social water service by getting the population involved.

• In Niamey, Niger, standpipe water inspectors ensure water supply where infrastructure is limited.

• Thanks to a unique technology developed by Veolia, off-road trucks, designed in South Africa, pump and treat water before taking it to the most isolated populations in Lesotho.

• In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Veolia Foundation is working to develop drinking water infrastructures in Uvira (population of 400 000) and Kalémie (population of 355 000) to attempt to curb the spread of cholera in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

• Following the connection of 1.5 million homes in the Nangloi district (Delhi, India), Veolia, in conjunction with a dedicated Social Welfare Team and NGO partners, supports slum populations in understanding water-related health issues and the changes required.

• In Australia, Veolia lowered the price of water for 500 000 people covered by Hunter Water (NSW): 23 million Australian dollars will be saved in the long-term.

• In the Czech Republic, 860 payment instalments were granted to customers in financial difficulty in 2018.

• In Ireland, Veolia is reducing costs on the Vartry and Ringsend sites by upgrading and digitising infrastructure serving 48 % of the country's population.

In France, in the Aude, Veolia operators worked day and night to repair the damage caused by the floods in 2018 and ensure the continuity of water supply and its safety.

In 2018, Veolia supplied 95 million people with drinking water worldwide.

‘Leaving no one behind’ in  figures, according to WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNESCO, UN-Water, Global Water Institute, and UN Habitat)

• 2.1 billion people live without access to drinking water in their home.

• 700 children under the age of five die every day due to unsafe water or poor sanitation.

• 80 % of people who use unsafe water sources live in rural areas.

• Women are in charge of collecting water in eight out of ten households.

• 68 million people in forced displacement have difficulty in accessing water.

• 159 million people drink surface water from ponds and streams.

• 4 billion people experience water scarcity for at least one month of the year.

• 700 million people could be displaced due to severe water scarcity by 2030.