NEWSLETTER | World Water Day 2019
In our newsletter's special edition for this year's World Water Day, we call for decision-makers to make water a priority and celebrate the ten year anniversary of our association. We asked our members about their experience taking part in the Water Erasmus initiative and we present their initiatives for World Water Day. We are also happy to welcome four new members!
Water is the source of all life, an essential element for people and societies. It is also a finite resource which needs to be managed and used responsibly and sustainably. As the EU is about to renew its institutions, European public water operators take the opportunity of World Water Day to call EU decision-makers to commit to making water a priority by upholding three key principles in the next years. In our Manifesto, we outline concrete proposals to finally make water a right and ensure its sustainable use.
- WATER FOR THE PEOPLE: Guarantee safe, accessible and affordable water for all
- ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION: A sustainable approach to protect finite resources and face climate change
- EXCELLENCE IN WATER MANAGEMENT: Support efficient, forward-looking water management for sustainable economies
Aqua Publica Europea celebrates ten years of collaboration in the public interest
In 2019, Aqua Publica Europea, the European Association of Public Water Operators, celebrates its tenth anniversary. It has been ten years of working to establish strong collaborations, both with the utilities who provide us with indispensable water services and with EU and international institutions to inform decision-making that meets the public interest.
Back in 2009, a handful of operators from Belgium, France, Italy and Switzerland, realised that public utilities had many values in common. They joined their efforts to formalise a shared vision for water management with the creation of Aqua Publica Europea based on the view that water is a common good that needs to be managed for the general interest by efficient public services. They also aimed to continuously improved their performance through peer-to-peer exchanges and cooperation, which materialised in the Aqua Publica platform and the landmark Water Erasmus initiative.
Since then, this vision gathered growing support and 65 operators have endorsed it. With members providing water supply and sanitation services to over 70 million people in Europe, Aqua Publica is now looking at the future. Many challenges and new opportunities will affect water operators in the years to come, from climate change and population growth to technological progress. At the same time, the EU also focuses on strengthening the management of this precious resource through both an ongoing wide review of its water policy and new legislation.
In this context, collaboration between all actors is crucial to secure sustainable and responsible management of a finite yet essential resource for both ours and future generations.
Aqua Publica Europea looked back at a year of successful exchanges as part of the Water Erasmus initiative, which was launched in 2017 as an innovative way to foster mutual learning amongst our network of public water operators through bilateral staff exchanges.
In 2018, the technical teams from operators providing services to a total of 16.5 million in Europe have traveled to meet their peers and share practices on a range of topics. We gathered their perspectives in the document 'Water Erasmus as told by the participants'.
In general, participants found that the experience had many benefits, both professionally and personally. Their main takeaways include: learning from others’ experience on common issues, meeting and exchanging with their peers, starting a long-term collaboration, creating a common knowledge and excellence space, comparing methodologies with similar structures.
On Water Erasmus, Célia Blauel, President of Aqua Publica Europea and Deputy-Mayor of Paris says: “We want to show that public water management at the European level is based on human relationships, and driven by women and men that are open to the world and committed to the quality and the sustainability of public services.”
In March 2019, Aqua Publica Europea has grown by four new members, bringing the association to 65 members. Two new operators serve the north of Italy: Acqua Novara and AMAG Reti Idriche, whilst the other two new members are French: Eau Coeur d’Essonne and the City of Paris (sanitation).
- Acqua Novara manages the integrated water service in 139 municipalities in the Provinces of Novara and Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (VCO) of the Northern Italian region of Piedmont.
- AMAG Reti Idriche S.p.A deals with the integrated water cycle in the province of Alessandria and serves about 150.000 people. It is part of the AMAG Group, a wholly public company, owned by 56 Municipalities and 1 Mountain Community.
- Eau Cœur d’Essonne serves 20 cities of the Essonne department, in the Parisian region, in drinking water. The operator commits to equal treatment, service and a single tariffs for all municipalities.
- City of Paris, Water and Sanitation service: the technical service in charge of water and sanitation of the City of Paris is the public service authority for water and sanitation and manages the sanitation network (waste and rain water).
- SAL invites the finalists of its educational competition for elementary school students to participate in a final game on good water practices (here)
- Scottish Government is supporting an event in Edinburgh on ‘Resilience to drought and low flow conditions in Scotland’ (here)
- AEOPAS co-organises in Barcelona an international conference for public and democratic water (here)
- Eaux de Vienne organises a day of activities, with outdoors activities as well as exchanges with different actors on water in the world (here)
- Acque Veronesi convenes a conference on the protection of water (here)
- Vivaqua opens to the public the construction site of its new storm basin in Brussels (here)