ES_Sustainability report 2018 · Aigües de Barcelona


Sustainability Report 2018 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


04 06 10


Experts in water cycle management

We serve cities


Committed to sustainable development Making the Sustainable Development Goals our own We share values through dialogue



We are committed to the environment and to society Aigües 2020: our strategy Strategic objectives 2020: room for improvement


21 24


We innovate to generate value



Water We ensure sustainable water management We guarantee maximum quality We make the network more efficient City We help fight climate change The circular economy: our strategy We protect and promote biodiversity We raise awareness among citizens People We offer accessible, high-quality services We are committed to talent - the key to our excellence Our procurement is local and responsible


38 40











One year: twelve actions to promote sustainability



Àngel Simon Chairman of the Board of Directors of Aigües de Barcelona

Three out of every ten people do not have access to drinking wa- ter, while six out of every ten people do not have access to safe sani- tation. In other words, two-thirds of the global population do not have access to a system that can provide safe water. In light of the fact that we are managing a vital resource, and that access to water is a ba- sic right, we have decided to tackle the key challenges facing society by incorporating the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into our everyday working practices, in order to work towards a fairer, more equitable and more sustainable society. In this respect, since 2012 we have promoted the Solidarity Fund to help struggling families, and we have signed agreements with 22 municipalities in the metropolitan area in order to ensure a supply of water for those who cannot afford it. Moreover, in 2018 we cancelled the debts accumulated by families in vulnerable situations. The Social Tariff for pensioners and the unemployed, billing in installments and flexible payments are just some of the other mechanisms that help us ensure universal access to water. To date, 39,000 families have bene- fitted from these initiatives. In the fight against climate change, and in accordance with the SDG, we have worked hard to transform our plants into “eco-factories”, or generators of resources, in order to reduce the generation of waste and shrink our carbon footprint. We have also updated our facilities to enable the use of reclaimed water and have launched a number of awareness-raising campaigns. These measures have enabled us to advance our sustainable development strategy and our commitment to the circular economy, in line with the goals set by the United Nations.


Ignacio Escudero Director of Aigües de Barcelona

Aigües de Barcelona’s 150-plus years of history are testament to our work as managers of the complete water cycle within the metropolitan area. It is complex work, carried out by a talented team of professionals who strive tomaintain our excellent levels of service, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Our push for continuous improvement hasmade us an inter- national benchmark, as demonstrated by the record number of technical visits to our facilities this year (7,830 people from 25 different countries). We are aware of the need to share our expertise and build new re- lationships, which is why we promote projects to raise awareness, en- courage innovation and collaborate with public administrations to pro- mote sustainable development and the circular economy. For young people, we also promote technology-oriented careers and encourage an interest in science by offering internships and taking part in exhibi- tions and other activities. We continue to adopt the latest technologies and control systems with the help of our technology centre (Cetaqua) and our laboratory, both of which have become international benchmarks and centres of excellence. We work alongside universities and R&D centres, and this year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of our agreement with the University of Barcelona. One of our most ambitious projects for 2018 was the 60k Plan to improve hydraulic efficiency by an amount equiva- lent to the consumption of a city with 60,000 inhabitants. With regard to management, we are committed to providing ob- jective and responsible information on our daily activities via the Open Portal: a platform for transparency that facilitates communication be- tween Aigües de Barcelona and citizens. We also guarantee real and effective equality of opportunity for men and women via our Corporate Plan and Equality Plan, and work with organizations to promote the in- tegration of vulnerable social groups. These measures drive us forward and enable us to achieve excellence as a sustainable company. As service providers, our primary aim is to guarantee the quality and continuity of the supply of drinking water to citizens, without de- stroying our resources (and, even more importantly, those of others). We are also responsible for the treatment of waste-water. This has en- abled us to make progress in completing the water cycle, following the example set spontaneously by nature. Likewise, we are keen to make progress in completing the cycle of resources that are found in waste-water. For this reason, we are working towards transforming our waste-water treatment plants, which currently house sludge and pu- rified water, into “eco-factories” that produce reclaimed water, recover valuable elements (such as phosphorus) and generate biogas. In turn, this will enable us to make progress with regard to the circular econo- my, without which sustainability is impossible. Citizens, along with all of the economic and social actors, both public and private, must join forces in order to build a sustainable sys- tem. Aigües de Barcelona has been working towards this goal for a while now. We are committed to it, and we invite everyone to share in this commitment. Sustainability is at the heart of the corporate culture of Aigües de Barcelona, as demonstrated by the results detailed in this report. It is for this reason that we have collated and shared these results, in the interests of collective responsibility.

Dr. Ramon Folch Member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Aigües de Barcelona Sustainability Committee



We have worked in tandem with the city of Barcelona and its metropolitan area as they have evolved. Our dedication, knowledge and experience of managing such a vital resource has enabled us to guarantee the excellence of our services. As a utility provider, we implement the policies set by the governing bodies and regulators, and we also con- tribute 150-plus years of experience in the management of water resources.



Talent: We offer the ideal envi- ronment for professional devel- opment and equal opportunities. Dialogue: We use this basic tool to build relationships based on trust and to improve our contri- bution to society. Innovation: Talent enables us to generate new solutions through creativity and innovative methods. Responsibility: We are commit- ted to transparent and responsi- ble management and are aware of the responsibility involved in managing this scarce public resource. Excellence: In-house expertise and collaboration with exter- nal actors enable us to move towards more efficient and sustainable management while ensuring the highest quality standards.

To be an international benchmark for integrated water cycle man- agement.


To make a significant contribu- tion to the sustainable develop- ment of the Barcelona metropol- itan area. To remain committed to people, safeguard the water supply and act in the best interests of the city.

We maintain permanent relationships with public institutions and cooperate with the different actors involved in managing the water cycle.


Aigües de Barcelona has a great responsibility towards society, which is why all of our activities are carried out in accordance with the values that define us.



Our activity

Drinking water

Sewer system




municipalities served




inhabitants served



volume of water delivered to the network (hm 3 /year)

km of network and pipes


DWTPs operated by Aigües de Barcelona





km of network



volume of water recycled (m 3 /year)



pumping stations


regulator valves

Remote control


million measurements taken per day

Water for non-drinking uses


remote facilities




sensors in the supply network

Treated water


municipalities (including those that are not part of the Barcelona metropolitan

area but are connected to the metropolitan sewer network)




water treatment plants


pumping stations


equivalent contaminant load (eq. inhab.)


total treatment capacity (m 3 /day)


We provide nearly 3 million people with safe access to drinking water.

Barberà del Vallès

Badia del Vallès




Montcada i Reixach


Cerdanyola del Vallès


Santa Coloma de Gramenet

Sant Cugat del Vallès

Sant Andreu de la Barca

Castellví de Rosanes

El Papiol


Molins de Rei

Corberà de Llobregat

Sant Adrià del Besòs

La Palma de Cervelló


Sant Just Desvern

Sant Feliu de Llobregat


Sant Vicenç dels Horts


Esplugues de Llobregat


Sant Joan Despí

Santa Coloma de Cervelló

Torrelles de Llobregat

L’Hospitalet de Llobregat

Cornellà de Llobregat

Sant Climent de Llobregat

Sant Boi de Llobregat


El Prat de Llobregat




Les Botigues de Sitges


COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT We are committed to making progress towards sustainable development through our activities and by acting in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We strive to maximize our positive impacts and reduce our footprint.

Our society, and the world as a whole, is experiencing a historic period of uncertainty, characterized by major environmental challenges that are putting the sustainability of the anthroposphere at risk and a global economic panorama that is marked by the recent financial cri- sis. Such circumstances demand an enormous commitment from Aigües de Barcelona as an organi- zation. It is a commitment that we must learn to bear and to internalize. The concentration of the popu- lation in large urban areas, the im-

pact of tourism and the needs of the agricultural industry in a region with scarce water resources are factors that oblige us to optimize the use of our water. In the future we will face more and longer periods of drought, which will present not only difficul- ties, but also a challenge for the supply of water to Barcelona and the metropolitan area. We need to ensure that water resources are col- lected and used properly. Consequently, Aigües de Bar- celona is committed to reclamation and recycling (i.e. full completion of

the water cycle) as the best way of guaranteeing the supply of drink- ing water. We have the necessary technology. However, the effort and commitment required to ensure sound water management can only be achieved with the help of an informed and aware citizenry. Achieving sustainable develop- ment is a challenge we must all face together.

The actions of today’s society have an enormous impact on sustainability. Aigües de Barcelona is facing the challenges of the future by committing to reclamation and recycling as a means of guaranteeing the supply of drinking water.


Trends and challenges




Citizen involvement ›› Regulators, public administra- tions and citizens play a greater role in service provision.

Promote two-way interac- tion and dialogue with citi- zens and make use of new communication channels and tools.


Social and political fluidity ›› Increased polarization in repre- sentative institutions. ›› Lack of cross-cutting political consensus in the Spanish and Catalan contexts. Loss of trust in institutions * ›› NGOs: 53% ›› Companies: 52% ›› Governments: 43% ›› Media: 43%

Guarantee access to water for every vulnerable per- son and promote a stable social environment.

Help companies to be- come more transparent; promote corporate ethics and a commitment to so- cial issues.

Technological change ›› Uncertainty regarding artificial intelligence. ›› Increased theft of data from companies via cyber-attacks.

Adopt a proactive and positive approach to tack- ling the risks arising from a changing technological environment.

Sustainable Development Goals ›› Achieving the overall goals set for 2030.

As active stakeholders in society, help achieve the goals set at the global level.

* Source: 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer


Making the Sustainable Development Goals our own

We have been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact since 2015.

The Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations are a universal rallying cry for the adoption of measures to end pov- erty, protect the planet and guar- antee peace and prosperity for all. Aigües de Barcelona is making its own contribution to the Sustain- able Development Goals through the following three action areas :

Aigües de Barcelona is dedicated to the responsible manage- ment of water, which is a basic resource and plays a key role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


1. Think globally, act locally

Priority strategies that enable Aigües de Barcelona to tackle global challenges by resolving lo- cal problems. 2. Specific solutions Strategies that form part of the Aigües 2020 action plan and in- volve the implementation of specif- ic, replicable solutions for specific challenges. 3. Alliances as a driving force Collaborating with other actors in order to multiply the impact and provide a response to a range of Sustainable Development Goals, whether directly or indirectly.


Through our activities, we are responsible for contributing to sustainable development. We want to help minimize our negative impacts and maximize our positive impacts on people and the planet.


We share values through dialogue

Our stakeholders

We have worked hard to be- come an organization that is re- sponsible, innovative and pub- lic-spirited. We are committed to people, society, social develop- ment and the preservation of the environment.

Public administration






Trade unions



We engage in a direct and continuous dialogue with stakeholders, as we believe this is the only way to generate shared values that benefit society as a whole.


We are committed to the environment and to society

On the threshold of the year 2020, as part of our Aigües 2020 strategic plan, we are revis- ing our roadmap and looking ahead to the new horizon of 2030. We have conducted an analysis of where we are, where we want to be, and how we can have a positive impact on the environment and soci- ety. Through this exercise, we have been able to redefine the commitments that will enable us to achieve and exceed our strategic plan (which is directly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals) and can look ahead to the year 2030.

Aigües de Barcelona’s commitments for the year 2030

›› To guarantee access to water for all, including those who are vulnerable. ›› To manage the service transparently, basing our actions on dialogue with stakeholders. ›› To promote an equitable, balanced and healthy work environment. ›› To manage water in a way that is efficient, sus- tainable and innovative. ›› To reduce our CO 2 emissions and generally minimize our negative impacts on the envi- ronment. ›› To take action that will allow us to adapt to the consequences of climate change in our areas of activity. ›› To play an active role in the development of the local community.

The new commitments undertaken by Aigües de Barcelona are intended to meet the demands of our various stakeholders.


Aigües 2020: our strategy

In 2018 we worked in collaboration with our stakeholders to update our strategic plan, which constitutes the central foundation that underpins the organization as it moves towards sustainability.

The Aigües 2020 sustainability strate- gy provides a roadmap for working towards efficient water management and communal benefits. It prioritizes solutions that work for all of the stakeholders. Aigües de Barcelona is committed to serving people, safeguard- ing the water supply and acting in the best interests of the city.




›› Access to water ›› Local and sustainable procurement ›› Customer satisfaction ›› Supplier satisfaction ›› Work environment ›› Equal opportunities ›› Accidents ›› Personal wellbeing ›› Work and collaboration ›› Volume of demand ›› Social and economic vulnerability ›› Loss of trust in institutions and companies ›› Unequal treatment and opportunities for men and women ›› Industrial and workplace accidents

›› Responsible consump- tion ›› Network efficiency ›› Reclaimed water

›› Green energy ›› Reduction in CO 2



sions ›› Biodiversity ›› Reuse of soil ›› Drought Plan ›› Alliances and collabo- rations

›› Regulatory framework ›› Water scarcity ›› Water pollution ›› Sewage overflow into the sea ›› Cyber-security

›› Loss of biodiversity ›› Air pollution and rising temperatures ›› Natural disasters (floods, torrential rain, droughts) ›› Excess and misuse of waste




Aigües 2020 projects: an example of sustainability-oriented engagement

Co-laboratory This project sought to establish new and more accessible chan- nels and spaces for dialogue, with the aim of improving the customer experience, forging closer relationships with citi- zens and involving them in our activities. Each year, the Aigües de Barcelona team helps the or- ganization achieve its strate- gic objectives by taking part in the Aigües 2020 projects. The projects comprise a se- ries of innovative initiatives that are proposed by the organi- zation’s employees and are designed to boost its sustain- able development. They foster the generation of motivation and engagement, promote in- house talent and create syner- gies between departments. Several standout projects were launched in 2018, in linewith the needs of our stakeholders.

WORKS AND DISRUPTIONS IN THE STREET Using works and disruptions in the street as an opportunity to interact with citizens.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE Promoting the use of tap water among various groups as a means of communicating the message of water quality and sustainability.

OFFICE TRANSFORMATION Transforming our offices in order to improve the customer experience.

MOBILE OFFICE: INFORMATION POINT Interacting with citizens in a more personalized way in order to provide information of interest to them.

THE OASIS Creating a space to interact with citizens through other activities and services and sharing challenges that go beyond the scope of the water supply.





Advanced management of aquifers The aim of the project is to stabilize production processes and maximize our use of the resources of the River Llobre- gat through artificial recharge using ASTR (Aquifer Storage Transfer and Recovery), where- by the aquifer becomes a stra- tegic reserve and a key factor in the process of producing drinking water.

Estimation of potentially re- coverable water resources


Fixed costs


Variable costs


Chemical inductors

Development of aquifer models

Energy inductors

Technical prepa- ration of infra- structure


Investing in accordance with sustainable development criteria The aim of this project is to define a model for distributing investment that incorporates sustainable development crite- ria, using a participative meth- odology that involves stake- holders in the decision-making process.



Transportation Distribution Other areas

Distribution of the investment budget in according with the crite- rion of maximizing the contribution to sustainable development





Strategic objectives 2020: room for improvement




To guarantee access towa- ter for vulnerable people.

To guarantee access to water for all eco- nomically vulnerable families in the Bar- celona metropolitan area.

5% improvement in overall satisfaction with the work done by Aigües de Barcelona, compared to 2015 (7.4). 5% improvement in the level of satisfaction with the service offered by Aigües de Bar- celona, compared to 2015 (7.1). 10% improvement in suppliers’ satisfaction with their relationship with Aigües de Bar- celona, compared to 2016 (6.8). 10% increase in the number of purchases made in accordance with the criterion of sustainability, compared to 2015 (67.7%). 35% of management or executive roles are filled by women. 20% reduction in the accident severity index, compared to 2015 (0.51). 20% reduction in the accident frequency rate, compared to 2015* (13.43). 70% of employees are able to access mea- sures to boost personal wellbeing.

To manage the service transparently, basing our actions on dialogue with stakeholders.


To promote an equitable, balanced and healthy work environment.

To promote entrepreneurship and ex- change of experiences among employees.





To manage water in a way that is efficient, sustain- able and innovative.

To improve our ability to respond to epi- sodes of drought.

To reduce leaks by an amount equivalent to the annual consumption of a town of 60,000 inhabitants.


To improve public perception of the use of reclaimed water.

10% reduction in the emission of CO 2 (tonnes), compared to 2015 (138,270.15 t of CO 2 equivalents). 10% increase in green energy generated, compared to 2015 (16,178,032 kWh).

To reduce the level of CO 2 emissions.


50% recycling rate for the soil removed when laying pipes.

To take action that will allow us to adapt to the consequences of climate change in our areas of activity.

To promote initiatives to improve biodiver- sity in the Barcelona metropolitan area.

To remain one of the five major European cities with the lowest amount of domestic water consumption.

To play an active role in the development of the local community.

To develop alliances with local adminis- trations and social and environmental or- ganizations.

PROGRESS Positive Neutral




Aigües de Barcelona is committed to innovation through the creation of knowledge that will help improve the integrated management of the water cycle - which forms an integral part of our organization. By putting this knowledge into practice and sharing it, we are able to contribute to the wellbeing of society.

Innovation drives the generation, incorpo- ration and transmission of knowledge, which in turn enables us to generate social, economic and environmental value, for both citizens and the city. For this reason, we place people at the heart of the innovation process. We at Aigües de Barcelona are convinced that sharing knowledge and experiences with other organizations, technology centres, uni- versities and public administrations adds value to our activities. This allows us to achieve more ambitious goals and make a positive contribu- tion to society. We demonstrate our commitment to open innovation by promoting the development of in-house talent and collaborating with external actors who are able to contribute different visions.

4 industrial doctorates

20.48% of all projects involve social innovation.

In 2018, one out of every four people working at Aigües de Barcelona took part in projects related to innovation and knowledge.

Innovation provides a way to promote talent from within, while identifying potential ideas from outside the organization. »

Rafel Miguel, Sewer Network Technician, Aigües de Barcelona


Aigües de Barcelona’s areas of research

Efficient infrastructure management

Environment and health

Alternative resources

Water and energy

Impact of global change

Water demand management

4 projects

18 projects

16 projects

5 projects

26 projects

2 projects

Standout innovation projects in 2018

›› Sant Feliu Maker League: Developing inno- vative solutions for the complete water cycle. The studies carried out as part of the Smart City challenge have shown how water helps make Sant Feliu a smarter town, and how pub- lic and ornamental water fountains contribute to social cohesion. The Smart Agriculture chal- lenge, meanwhile, has focused on optimizing water consumption on the part of the agricul- tural industry, crop farmers and urban vegeta- ble gardens within the municipality. ›› Waterwall: A citizen-participation initiative aimed at groups of young people and involv- ing the creation of a large mural, as a means of covering the graffiti that had been painted onto the facilities of Aigües de Barcelona. ›› InnovAB network: An “accelerator network” of professionals who work together to highlight and manage the company’s in-house talent and facilitate the embracing of new approach- es to work and innovation.

40.96% of all projects involve open innovation.

€4.9M invested in innovation and research

71 innovation projects


WATER Aigües de Barcelona is committed to seeking out new sources for water collection and raising awareness among consumers of the need for responsible consumption. We know that water is a scarce resource, which is why we strive to create an efficient network and reduce the volume of leaks. We both champion and guarantee the high quality of our water, while remaining committed to protecting water reserves and making progress in the comprehensive management of water resources. We are wholeheartedly committed to excellence in management: because access to clean, safe water is a right, resources must be consumed responsibly, and ensuring that the natural environment remains unpolluted is a top priority.

Controlling the quantity and quality of water is a key part of re- source management. Aigües de Barcelona supplies nearly 3 million

people with water that originates from several different sources: surface water, groundwater, and desalinated water. The scarcity of

water resources presents a chal- lenge that requires the adoption of new methods of treating and recy- cling water.

Water: an overview of the environment, challenges and objectives

CHALLENGE Obstacles we must overcome

2020 OBJECTIVES Response to global challenges

TRENDS AND RISKS Aigües de Barcelona and the surrounding environment

Responsible consumption Ensure Barcelona remains one of the five European cities with the lowest amount of do- mestic water consumption. Reclaimed water Improve public perception of the use of reclaimed water.

Seek out new sources for water collection and raise awareness among con- sumers of the need

Scarcity of water resources 11% reduction in the amount of water forecast to be available for Catalonia by 2021 2.4% reduction in precipitation during the period 2012-2021

for responsible consumption.

Customer satisfaction Improve the level of

Promote the message that


water is a resource of maximum quality and champion its excellence.

A taste perceived as unpleasant is associated with poor water quality. 50%

satisfaction with the ser- vice offered by Aigües de Barcelona by 5% compared to 2015.

of residents in the Barcelona metropolitan area believe tap water is not suitable for drinking. 19%

of residents believe the cleanliness of the water is not guaranteed.


TRENDS AND RISKS Aigües de Barcelona and the surrounding environment

CHALLENGE Obstacles we must overcome

2020 OBJECTIVES Response to global challenges

Network efficiency Reduce leaks by an

Achieve a balance between excellence and efficiency.

amount equivalent to the annual consumption of a town of 60,000 inhabitants.

Activity and tariffs

The Framework Agreement remains in force until 31/12/2018.

Recycling Improve public perception of the use of reclaimed water. Improve our ability to respond to episodes of drought.

Protect water reserves and

Ter Agreement 2028

improve overall water resource management.

The year in which it is forecast that the transfer of water from the River Ter to the Barcelona metropolitan area will reach an annual maximum of 30% of the total volume of water discharged from the river. Currently, this figure stands at 70% .

Biodiversity To promote initia-

Protect water reserves and

tives to improve biodi- versity in the Barcelona metropolitan area.

Treatment incidents A rapid and effective response is required for treatment incidents (e.g. overflow) that occur during the summer and affect the quality of seawater.

improve overall water resource management.


Standout figures



193.01 hm 3 water supplied

+400,000 annual water quality checks 1,100 daily water quality checks

278.33 hm 3 water treated

2.82 hm 3 water recycled

ISO standards ISO 17025, ISO 9001 and ISO 22000

28.62 hm 3 water extracted from aquifers

100% cleanliness guarantee



363,541 supplies billed via remote meter reading

85.04% network efficiency

2022 target year for full coverage of remote meter reading

24/365 operations control centre open all day, every day


Experts in integrated water cycle management

Collecting water resources

Treatment for agri- cultural irrigation and environmental and leisure uses 6 treatment plants

Transportation and storage 68 pumping stations 73 tanks

Distribution 4,661 km of pipes

Rivers: Llobregat and Ter Aquifers: Llobregat and Besòs Recycling: WWTP Desalination: El Prat desalination plant

Operations control centre

24 hours 365 days

We are able to guarantee the responsible management of the complete water cycle through our network of cutting-edge facilities, which are located in various municipalities throughout the Barcelona metropolitan area.

Return flow 4 submarine outfalls

Reuse 10 municipalities supplied with aqui- fer waterfor non-drinking uses 4 municipalities with recycled water from the WWTP for agricultural, environmental and leisure uses

Treatment 7 treatment plants

Sewer system 1,368.97 km

of pipes in the sewer network


We ensure sustainable water management

Aigües de Barcelona is com- mitted to recycling water as a key strategy for guaranteeing the fu- ture supply of water for the Barce- lona metropolitan area. We invest in projects that make it possible to re- spond to periods of irregular rainfall and find solutions for limited water resources in internal reserves. 2018 saw the supply of 2.8 hm 3 of reclaimed water for agricultur- al irrigation, cleaning of parks and gardens, and environmental uses. We intend to increase this amount year-on-year.

Reclaimed water to return to the River Llobregat

Our water recycling project at the Baix Llo- bregat treatment plant is designed to return wa- ter to the river. Usually, the water from the plant is discharged safely and responsibly into the sea, after it has undergone the necessary treatment. The project incorporates a waste-water reclama- tion facility and 15 km of pipes, and after under- going special filtration and disinfection processes the water is suitable for discharging into the River Llobregat, as it is of excellent quality and can be integrated back into the water cycle. The cost of recycling this water is 14 euro cents per 1,000 litres: three times lower than the cost of desalination.


Our reclaimed water is of exceptional quality» Javier Santos, Director of Treatment Operations, Aigües de Barcelona

The Baix Llobregat WWTP incorporates a water reclamation plant capable of producing more than 300 million litres of reclaimed water (an amount equivalent to 100 Olympic-sized pools) per day.

All of the uses of reclaimed water

Molins de Rei Indirect supply, DWTP



RED Irrigation water


Montjuïc tank

Aquifer supply

DWTP St. Joan Despí

River’s environmental flow


WRP Water reclamation plant

WRP Prat de Llobregat

RED Reverse electrodialysis

Salt water intrusion barrier wells

UF+RO Ultrafiltration + reverse osmosis


WWTP Prat de Llobregat

WWTP Waste-water treatment plant

Salt water intrusion barrier wells

DWTP Drinking-water treatment plant


We guarantee maximum quality

We use the very latest technologies and control systems at all times in order to produce drinking water of the very highest quality, and thereby repay the public’s trust.

Water quality is the top priority for Aigües de Barcelona, which is why we adopt the very strict- est safety levels in our work. Our laboratory is an international centre of excellence, and guaran- tees that the water we supply to the municipali- ties is of optimum quality.

The Aigües de Barcelona laboratory: an international benchmark ›› ISO 22000 certification guarantees that our water is suitable for human consumption, like any other foodstuff. ›› ISO 17025 certification: the highest level of international recognition cur- rently awarded to an analytical labo- ratory. ›› ISO 9001 quality certification and ISO 14001 environmental certification. ›› More than 1,100 daily quality checks performed every day. ›› A team of specialist drinking water tasters ensures the excellent organ- oleptic qualities of our water.

We are the first company in Spain and one of the first in the world to obtain ISO 22000 certification as a means of guaranteeing the

cleanliness of our water.

100% compliance with health- related parameters


Supervisors of water quality

We have a mobile laboratory that

Water qualitymanagement technicians supervise the quality of the wa- ter in the network, adjust the rechlorination levels, perform the tests and analyses that are required in order to obtain first-hand information, and act as a point of contact for area managers and customers for issues related to water quality (e.g. dealing with complaints, managing leaks, etc.). They also provide assistance in operations or situations that may affect water quality (e.g. disinfection after a pipe has been put into operation, dealing with pos- sible intrusions, etc.). As such, they are essential to safeguarding the system and guaranteeing the complete safety of the water supplied by Aigües de Barcelona.

enables us to provide an extremely fast and flexible response.

Research and innovation

Weareinvolvedinnumerousna- tionaland internationalR&Dprojects in collaboration with Cetaqua and many other research centres.

11 publications in 2018

18 papers

presented at scientific conferences

Outreach is one of the most important aspects of the work done by the technical personnel in the Water Quality Department.

For us, Aigües de Barcelona’s experience constitutes an extremely valuable source of knowledge and expertise.» Irene Corbella, Head of the Environmental Health Service at the Sub-Directorate General for Food Safety and Health Protection, part of the Catalan Public Health Agency


We make the network more efficient

The improvements to the net- work’s hydraulic efficiency are the result of a specific annual pro- gramme comprising several dif- ferent areas of focus, such as the preventive diagnosis of leaks via information provided by the com- partmentalization process, and the use of models in prioritizing net- work upgrade activities and mea- suring consumption. The network’s hydraulic ef- ficiency rating for 2018 was 85%, which translates to a “highly satis- factory” rating for the water supply operation, especially if we take into account the network’s pressure levels, which enable us to guar- antee a direct supply of water to buildings up to eight storeys tall.

If the network’s efficiency level is 85.04%, where does the rest of the water go?

5.93% Actual losses caused by break- downs and small imperfections that can only be detected by inspecting the network.

Precisely monitoring the flow rate, supervising the network and inspecting meters can all help to reduce losses.

0.09% Consumption derived from net- work operations, such as cleaning and disinfecting pipes and tanks.

8.84% Apparent losses through meter in- accuracies and fraudulent or illegal consumption.


We have reached our goal of achieving a network efficiency rating of 85.04%, which is 10 points higher than the average for water companies in Spain (according to the Spanish National Statistics Institute).

60k: a new project is born

The culmination of the 85 Plan came in 2017, when our perfor- mance exceeded the target of 85%. This also signified the com- mencement of a new challenge: the 60k Plan. Under this new plan, for which the target year is 2020, Aigües de Barcelona is commit- ted to reducing unregistered consumption by an amount equiva- lent to the annual consumption of a town of 60,000 inhabitants.

With preventive maintenance and periodic checks, our efficiency levels can approach 100%.» Àngel Cuenca, operations

Remote meter reading: a useful and flexible service for customers

Technological innovation en- ables us to manage water re- sources more efficiently and offer a more reliable and comprehensive service. In this regard, the remote reading system gives meters the capacity to emit a signal, so that consumption can be checked per day and per hour, at any time and from any location. Alerts for excess consumption and leaks provide customers with useful and important information, allowing them to find timely solutions to problems that might otherwise result in unexpectedly high water bills.




Aigües BCN alert: We have detected EXCESS consumption from your supply on 21/09/2018. Account no. 9018014. Please identify potential causes and look for leaks.


363,541 meters equipped with remote reading alerts


CITY Aigües de Barcelona is committed to taking action aimed at improving the biodiversity of our surroundings and increasing the use of green energy. We are working hard to reduce CO 2 emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. We are also committed to the principles of the circular economy and have integrated them into our management activities (e.g. with the introduction of eco-factories). Additionally, we promote a network-based approach to our activities and play an active role in the development of the local community. We believe that halting the loss of biodiversity is an obligation, and using clean, sustainable energy is vital in order to make cities more resilient. There is a pressing need to fight against climate change and its impacts and to help reduce waste. And if we are to make sustainable development a reality, we need to forge alliances at the local and international level.

One of the challenges of the 21st century is the fight against climate change, which requires a reduction in the emission of green- house gases, the promotion of re- newable energies and an increase in energy efficiency. Natural disasters and chang- ing weather patterns, resulting in

more severe periods of drought, make water management even more precarious. In turn, this ne- cessitates measures designed to improve and adapt. At the same time, the quality of the river water is falling due to human activity, while the amount available is also shrinking (by

around 60% over the last 50 years). For these reasons, we are striving to protect biodiversity, become energy efficient and self-sustain- able, generate less waste, and promote recycling and reintroduc- tion into the water cycle through projects that help develop the cir- cular economy.

City: an overview of the environment, challenges and objectives


CHALLENGE Obstacles we must overcome

2020 OBJECTIVES Response to global challenges

Aigües de Barcelona and the surrounding environment

Improve biodiversity Promote initiatives that protect and improve biodiversity in the Barcelona metropolitan area.

Loss of biodiversity There is growing concern over the preservation of natural heritage and biodiversity. Many species of wild animals and plants are disappearing. Areas of natural interest are being degraded.

Prevent pollution, preserve and promote biodi- versity and combat climate change.

Green energy Increase the amount of green energy generated by 10%, compared to 2015. Reduce the amount of CO 2 emitted Reduce the amount of CO 2 emitted by 10% (corresponding to 138,270.15 t of CO 2 equivalents), compared to 2015.

Air pollution and rising temperatures

Improve the organization’s environmental performance


of Spain’s CO 2 emissions are produced in Catalonia 57% of Catalonia’s emissions are produced in the province of Barcelona. This has an impact on the organoleptic perception of water quality.



CHALLENGE Obstacles we must overcome

2020 OBJECTIVES Response to global challenges

Aigües de Barcelona and the surrounding environment

Drought plan Improve our ability to respond to episodes of drought.

Adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Natural disasters

More frequent and more severe extreme weather events (e.g. torrential rain) caused by climate change.

Reuse soil Recycle 50% of the soil removed when laying pipes.

Promote the recycling

Excess and misuse of waste

of waste and set a target of zero waste.

Restricting planned obsolescence in products. Banning single-use plastics in Europe by 2021.

Alliances and collaborations Develop partnerships with local administrations and social and environ- mental organizations.

Play an active role in the development

Promoting a network-based approach The development of the region’s communities requires collaboration between companies, institutions and public administrations.

of the local community.


Standout figures



191,069,866 kWh of energy consumed during the complete water cycle 18,667,976 kWh of electrical energy produced through cogeneration using biogas

89% of the waste generated byWWTPs is reused 71% of the waste generated by DWTPs is reused

174,144 kWh of energy produced by solar panels

17% of soil reused for public works




+134,000 participants in educational and awareness-raising initiatives

reduction in CO 2


compared to 2015

120 fully electric vehicles

82 organizations have benefitted

from collaborations and financial contributions

100% of the energy consumed is from renewable sources

+€2.7M contributed to social initiatives


At Aigües de Barcelona, we not only look after the environment: we also take care of its inhabitants. We invest in the sustainable devel- opment of cities and carry out educational and awareness-raising activities to encourage the responsible use of water. We work alongside schools, NGOs, public administrations, compa- nies and organizations of all kinds to build a fairer and more sustainable world. For Aigües de Barcelona, acting in the city’s best interests means doing our job while looking after the resource we manage, respecting the environment we operate in and understanding the needs of people who live in the Barcelona metropolitan area.

Natural environment and biodiversity

3 facilities in protected areas (Natura 2000 network)

13 projects aimed at improving biodiversity

18 waste-water plants that control sewage overflow into the sea and are equipped with alert systems

We invest in the sustainable development of cities and carry out educational and awareness- raising activities to encourage the responsible use of water.


2,611,968 m 3 of reclaimed water returned to the natural environment 75,950 m 3 of reclaimed water supplied for leisure uses 135,200 m 3 of reclaimed water supplied for agricultural uses


We help fight climate change

Since 2015 we have reduced our carbon footprint by 34.83%, significantly exceeding the target reduction of 10% set in the Aigües 2020 strategic plan.

Climate change is one of the great challenges facing today’s society. It is a global challenge that af- fects both quality of life and availability of resources. The fight against climate change must allow for the supply of high-quality water, while ensuring that cit- ies are healthy and sustainable places to live. By calculating our carbon footprint, we can im- prove our processes and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

Aigües de Barcelona’s carbon footprint

What is a carbon footprint? It is a measurement of the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted in relation to a product or activity. GHG emissions are divided into three categories:

Category 1 · 30% Direct emissions from our own sources or sources we control

Category 2 · 0% Indirect emissions produced during the generation of the elec- tricity we purchase

Category 3 · 70% Other indirect emissions: activ- ities related to the company’s objectives and for which we have reliable data

Corporate travel

Emissions produced through the operation of WWTPs

Transportation of materials, reagents and waste

Fluorinated gases

Electricity consumed by the network

Consumption of reagents

Burning of fuel

Company vehicles

Final disposal of waste

Emissions from plant effluent


Our own tool

We have been calculating our carbon footprint since 2011. Our cal- culations are made in accordance with the guide produced by the Climate Change Office for Catalo- nia (CCOC) and using our own tool, Carboweb, which incorporates a specific methodology for the com- plete water cycle developed by the Cetaqua water technology centre. Minimizing our environmental impact, embracing clean energy and promoting the circular economy are at the heart of Aigües de Barce- lona’s strategy. Consequently, we have implemented a range of mea- sures to reduce the carbon footprint generated by our daily activities.

“Carbon footprint” is a term we hear frequently, but we know little about what it means and how to reduce it. More needs to be done to reduce emissions and publicize the achievement of targets. » Maria Josep Batalla

Initiatives to reduce GHG emissions

›› Sustainable mobility: • Fleet of 120 fully electric vehicles .

• Road Mobility Plan and Corporate Travel Plan for the headquarters of Aigües de Barcelona (Collblanc centre). • Working from home, which helps reduce emissions and improves work-life balance. ›› Buying emissions-free energy: Almost 100% of the ener- gy purchased as part of the water cycle is from guaranteed renewable sources. ›› Installation of solar panels and pergolas to generate solar energy.


The circular economy: our strategy

Consumption of energy from renewable sources

By generating our own energy from sources other than fossil fuels, we are able to reduce our carbon foot- print and give a new lease of life to the large volume of waste we generate.

We generate biogas from treatment sludge and are committed to using alternative sources that reduce methane emissions.

174,144 kWh of electrical energy from the solar park 18,667,976 kWh of electrical energy produced through cogeneration using biogas

Zero waste objective

We prioritize the optimization of the resourc- es that are necessary for our activities and reuse waste materials that can be converted into a re- source. In turn, this reinforces our circular econo- my-based strategy. In 2018 we reused 89% of the waste generated by our WWTPs and 71% of the waste generated by our DWTPs.

Almost 10% of the energy we consume is renewable energy generated at our own facilities.


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