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2021 World water day. Valuing water

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“Valuing water” is the theme that the United Nations has chosen this year to celebrate World Water Day while asking us a question that seeks to raise awareness about the role of this resource in our lives: what does water mean to you?

What does water mean to you? With this question, United Nations wanted to open a conversation this year on the celebration of World Water Day on March 22, which makes us to think about, not only what this resource means for us, but what each one can do to preserve it.

We all know the fundamental role that water plays in most economic sectors for their development and productivity, as well as in our homes and workplaces, improving our well-being and health. Today it is also being a necessary element to carry out vital hygiene and cleaning measures for the protection and prevention against the spread of COVID-19. But, without a doubt, what it brings us in our personal life, for example, in terms of what connects us with nature, is something that we may not value enough.

For me, water has been the main axis of my entire professional life and has allowed me to know first-hand the meaning of water for people who live in regions where its scarcity or lack of quality is a key element to their quality of life and their economic development.

At Abengoa, we have developed projects that have improved the lives of millions of people around the world. For example, our desalination plants provide water to more than 20 million people and thanks to our drinking water treatment plants is possible to provide it to more than 11 million people. On the other hand, more than four million people drink water that has been pumped or transported through large pipelines built by our company.

One of these projects is the Qingdao desalination plant, located in Shandong province, in the second largest commercial port in northern China, where I had the opportunity to participate as a manager. The commissioning of this plant in 2012, which has the capacity to produce 100,000 m3/d of desalinated water using reverse osmosis technology, had a significant impact on the city of Qingdao, as it improved the supply of drinking water. The development of the Qingdao project was a challenge from a technological point of view due to the special characteristics of raw water, taken from a seawater lagoon, and the strict turbidity requirement required by local legislation. This was the first desalination project carried out with project finance and financed one hundred percent by local banks in China, in addition to be a pioneering project for the supply of desalinated water in this country.

Today Abengoa is at the forefront of the international water sector and incorporates the latest technological innovations that allow obtaining sustainable solutions that are at the same time more efficient and competitive. The world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant, which Abengoa is currently building at the Taweelah water and power generation complex in the United Arab Emirates, is a good example of this. This plant, which will have the installation of a photovoltaic solar field of more than 40 MWp of power, will have the capacity to produce 909,000 m3 of desalinated water per day and will guarantee the supply of water to Abu Dhabi throughout the year.

All this experience and knowledge has led us to understand the meaning that water has not only for us but also for millions of people who suffer the effects of its scarcity. Today more than ever, let’s value water.

Pedro Almagro,
CEO of Abengoa’s Water vertical.

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