Wastewater: a major challenge for the international community
In 2017, 80% of the world's wastewater is being released into the natural environment without any treatment. 2.5 billion people do not have access to a sanitation system that collects and treats wastewater. At the same time, urban inequalities are increasing. Given these social, economic and environmental challenges, more inclusive services and more resilient infrastructure must be developed within cities.
For Antoine Frérot, Veolia Chairman and CEO, "Wastewater can no longer be regarded as waste. Today, only 2% of the wastewater produced in the world is reused. There is a lot of room for improvement!"
Improving wastewater infrastructure through innovation
Veolia develops solutions that turn wastewater into new resources for local authorities and industry. For example, in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), 300,000 m3 / day of wastewater is reused for irrigation. In Marseille (France), the energy in wastewater heats the swimming pools at the Cercle des Nageurs. In Milwaukee (USA), the city’s wastewater is recovered to produce fertilizer for local agricultural use. In Windhoek (Namibia) it is transformed into drinking water for 300,000 people. In Durban (South Africa), 98% of the SWTW treatment plant's wastewater for industry and so reduces water stress locally.
"Resourcing the world" in a more inclusive way
On every continent, Veolia deploys inclusive smart functionalities that mobilize all the stakeholders, including citizens and businesses, thereby helping to make urban areas more attractive: the classic linear economy is replaced by a more circular economy that transforms wastewater into useable water to meet the growing demand for safe and affordable water for everyone while also reducing the impact on the environment.
"Technology alone will not solve the problems of providing access to water services and adapting to climate change. It is necessary to go beyond the traditional silos and bring together public authorities, economic actors and civil society to develop new partnerships and innovative and inclusive solutions to meet these major challenges," explained Laurent Auguste, Veolia’s Senior Executive Vice President Development, Innovation and Markets.
Program of Veolia’s interventions at World Water Week in Stockholm: