At the crossroads of all social, economic and environmental activities, fresh water is our most fundamental asset. And right now, it is under pressure. Industrial, agricultural, domestic water requirements and usages continue to increase in an effort to keep pace with an ever-growing global population that is causing demand to grow, decade by decade.
For World Water Day, focused this year on “water and sustainable development” our group – spanning 70 countries and 5 continents – is raising awareness about the need for politicians and individuals alike to participate in decisions to secure water resources for the future.
For our part, members of the SUEZ Environnement group are adopting innovative solutions – to prove that it is possible to build a society capable of generating and regenerating resources essential to its future. Furthermore, we have set a priority to facilitate access, while working to protect the resource.
On a global scale, access to water and sanitation remains a crucial issue of immediate concern in many countries. According to data from the WHO, 780 million people around the world still lack access to safe drinking water, while 2.6 billion people do not have access to sanitation services.
Rising to the challenge, we are implementing solutions to secure the right to water while meeting challenges such as access to water, protecting resources and socially inclusive water pricing. In fact, since 2000, SUEZ Environnement solutions in emerging countries have made it possible to connect 14.1 million people to drinking water services and 7.1 million people to sanitation services.
In India for instance, water consumption is expected to double by 2050. Municipal authorities in Mumbai have called on SUEZ Environnement to improve the water distribution service for 12.5 million people, aiming to ensure 24/7 water supplies for residents, while improving services in the city’s shanty towns.
We also preserve water resources in the circular economy by developing alternative uses for wastewater. In Jordan, for example, we are leading an expansion of the wastewater treatment plant to increase capacity from 70,500 to 96,400 gallons a day, to meet the needs of 3.5 million people which amounts to nearly 35% of the country’s total population.
The volume of treated water produced by this plant will be equivalent to nearly 10% of all of the country’s water resources. And what’s more, all the water can be reused after treatment for irrigation and agriculture.
World Water Day reminds us that these concrete and measurable solutions cannot be made possible with technology and ingenuity alone. They must be developed in collaboration with industry, agriculture, government and citizens alike.