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HomeLatest NewsThe importance of water management in the addendum to the Recovery Plan

The importance of water management in the addendum to the Recovery Plan

Date: October 4, 2023 Time: 16:06:02

Water is a fundamental element for sustainable development and is essential for socioeconomic development, for energy generation, for food production, for ecosystems and for the survival of human beings. However, we are currently facing a number of challenges that threaten the availability and quality of water. Climate change, pollution, the overexploitation of aquifers and the lack of adequate infrastructure are just some of the problems that we must urgently address.

Many of the effects of climate change are manifested in water. Spain is especially affected by these risks; since more than 70% of the territory has high or extreme water stress, with an indication in all climate change models of a worsening of it, even in those scenarios in which warming is limited to 1.5º according to the chord of Paris. Along with the risks, it is important to consider that water is also a basic part of adaptation to climate change, with which its lack or limited access makes responses to it difficult. For all these reasons, the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (PNACC) 2021-2030 identifies the promotion of water management and water resources in general as one of its priorities.

In Spain, the main use of water is irrigation and agricultural uses, which accounts for approximately 80.5% of the demand; followed by urban supply that represents 15.5%, while industrial use represents the remaining 4%.

Analyzing the agricultural field, as the main consumer, according to the data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; Only 53% of the almost 4 million hectares destined for irrigation currently use localized irrigation methods. In such a way that they optimize the use of water, providing small flows at low pressure in the proximity of the plants and allowing savings of between 40 and 60% of water compared to other irrigation systems.

When modernizing irrigation, water savings must be taken into account, but also energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and the efficiency of the use of fertilizers and phytosanitary products. Digitization makes it possible to optimize supply and irrigation networks in terms of water consumption and energy consumption. The objective is to guarantee the viability of the farms, as well as their sustainability.

In the urban area, with supplies of 4,240 hm3 per year in 2020 and a generation of more than 62,000 direct and indirect jobs, 25.1% of the supply corresponds to losses (real or apparent). This figure is far from countries like Dubai, which has an efficiency of 94%, or our neighboring country, France, with 80% efficiency and less water stress.

The water sector in Spain presents a series of challenges for more efficient and sustainable water management. Our country must adapt to the new scenario of climate change, improve infrastructure to minimize losses, control water discharges and its quality, improve information on the use of water both in the control and in the understanding of those uses.

The PERTE for the digitization of the water cycle launched in 2022, provided for a public investment of 1,940 million euros, together with a mobilization of an additional 1,120 million through public-private collaboration. Its objectives are the transformation and modernization of water management systems, both for the urban cycle, as well as for irrigation and industrial uses; improving knowledge of water uses, increasing transparency in water management and contributing to compliance with the environmental objectives established in hydrological planning. According to data published in February 2023, the first call for PERTE aid ended with 158 projects and 1,022 million applications. In the middle of the year it is expected that the resolution of the granting of aid will be announced, which will range between 3 and 10 million per project.

The draft Addendum to the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) that the Government of Spain has approved for shipment to the EU, will make it possible to mobilize 7,700 million euros of additional transfers, 84,000 million euros in loans; as well as 2,644 million euros from the REPowerEU program. In the field of digitalization of water management, 3,485 million will be mobilized, 1,250 as additional transfers, 1,805 as loans and 430 million from phase I of the Plan.

One of the objectives of the addendum is to respond to the specific recommendations launched by the European Commission since 2019 on the stability plan. Specifically, and with respect to the Recommendation to Promote the Development of a Circular Economy Including the Reuse of Water (CSR 2022.3.3), the Addendum Gives a Response by Reinforcing Component 3 of the Environmental and Digital Transformation of the AGRALIMENTARY AND FISHERIES SYSTEM AND the component 5 of them left the coast and water resources of the PRTR.

The transformation not only concerns the agricultural sector and urban distribution; since companies, with intensive use in their production processes or upstream in their supply chain -as is the case of food companies or commercial distribution, chemical, energy or mining sectors-, will also play a role essential in the use of good practices and the development of ‘water stewardship’ actions.

In this sense, the new CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) regulations and the new ESRS (Environmental, Social, and Governance Reporting Standards) standards, which will affect the vast majority of companies, seek to promote sustainability and accountability in business practices. . To do this, it requires organizations to evaluate and disclose information related to their impact and water management, including the amount used, the quality of the water discharged, and the measures taken to conserve and protect this resource. The lines of support mobilized with the Addendum represent an excellent opportunity for companies to be at the forefront of the sustainable transformation in the use of water.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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