The quantity of water available on our planet never changes. But its quality, geographical distribution and accessibility vary enormously, and today’s world faces three major challenges.
- Scarcity: there is not enough water for everyone in the places where it is needed most. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 40% of the world’s population is already living in an area affected by water stress.
- Environmental pollution: according to the United Nations, over 80% of the world’s wastewater is discharged into watercourses and seas without any form of treatment. This is wasteful not only because water can be reused more than once, but also because it contaminates natural environments and makes it more difficult to access water of good quality.
- New risks: such as micropollutants or terrorists, who may target water infrastructure and networks, as well as the climate emergency and its consequences in the form of flooding, drought, storms, etc.
Water, a priority for cities and industry
Cities need to be more prudent about their water use, but also make sure that water is supplied to as many people as possible. And boosting their resilience means they will be better able to face extreme events. There are a number of problems that cities have to tackle, including:
- access to water: improving how water is distributed, preventing waste and promoting access;
- water quality and continuity of service: these are fundamentals. Digital solutions help to continuously optimize water quality. These solutions include real-time management centers (Hubgrade), dashboards for elected officials (Urban Board) and applications to help residents (Urban Pulse);
- cost control: designed to improve the energy efficiency of water services and strengthen operational performance;
- preparedness: boosting resilience to improve crisis planning and management.
For their part, industry and business need a strategic partner to help them tackle problems they may face, including:
- optimizing overall costs: to ensure financial efficiency;
- reducing environmental footprints: to meet increasingly ambitious commitments;
- protecting their reputation: the strong guarantees we give for all our services have won us the trust of many of the world’s largest groups. We manage industrial water on behalf of Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Danone, Total and many others;
- stricter regulations, and obtaining and retaining operating permits: public authorities and civil society now expect industry to minimize pollution and the use of resources taken direct from nature, as this helps avoid conflicts relating to use in places where water resources are scarce and precious.
Our integrated and innovative approach to treating and distributing drinking water
Water is far more than just a commodity. It is an environmental and social good that is difficult and complex to manage. Water is not something we ever look at in isolation, it is always the sum of many interdependent factors: societal, environmental, technical, organizational, regulatory, financial and so on.
We are currently one of the only players in the water industry with the combination of skillsets and expertise that come from being an operator and equipment manufacturer. This dual role gives us the most in-depth possible knowledge of the market and the capacity to respond to all its challenges.
This integrated approach — to the solutions we provide to our customers and the way that we combine our water, energy and materials expertise, alongside our unrivalled capacity for innovation — really makes us stand out from our competitors.
Discover how we produce drinking water for day-to-day use
Discover how we collect and treat wastewater
Discover how we desalinate seawater
We did it!
In the Île-de-France region, near Paris, our Eau Solidaire program provides various forms of financial assistance to suit individual situations, including payment schedules, debt write-offs and water vouchers. In 2020, the program benefited 4,450 households. The program also provides help and advice to help people better manage their water use.
In 2018, in an informal settlement called Monte Sinaí, that lacked a connection to the municipal water network, we set up a mobile water distribution scheme called Agua del Sinaí to provide drinking water to 130,000 residents. This cut the prices of water by 25%, and a GPS system makes sure that all areas are covered and that supplies arrive on time.
Starting in 2020, Danone is looking for a 60% reduction in water use at its plants and a halving of CO2 emissions, with the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. In 2019, we formed an alliance with the French giant to optimize management of natural resources at its 170 sites worldwide.