Basque Country works on water digitalisation at the IWA DIGITAL WATER SUMMIT
- Tapia: “In the last 20 years we have reduced consumption by 20%, using water more efficiently.”
The second edition of the IWA Digital Water Summit, a benchmark summit on digitalisation for the global water sector, co-organised by the Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia (CABB), was held at the Euskaduna Palace in Bilbao from November 14 to 16. Water technology suppliers and water companies were the main participants, discussing and shaping the agenda focused on business and industry this time around.
Arantxa Tapia, the Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, met with Marie Whaley, Senior Vice President of IWA. At the meeting, they emphasised that the urban water management bodies in the Basque Country have been working for many years on the rational management and efficient use of water, which represents ¾ of the total water consumption in the Basque Country. According to Tapia, “this has led to a significant reduction in urban water demand of 23% in the last 20 years.” The Minister claimed that digitalisation has been essential for an industrial territory such as ours to be able to face the hydraulic challenges of the future with guarantees.
The institutional opening was attended by Aitor Aldasoro, Vice Minister for Environmental Sustainability; Antonio Aiz, Director General of URA; and Adolfo Uriarte, Director of Natural Heritage and Climate Change.
In his opening speech, Uriarte pointed out that, “in a year, some 300 Hm3 are consumed in the Basque Country. We have a very favourable resource to demand ratio, even in a scenario of future climate change effects... we consume 6% of the available resources.” The large supply systems in the Basque Country have a guaranteed supply for 97% of the population and only present shortage problems for 3% of the population of the Basque Country. Projects and solutions are already being planned. He pointed out that the management of water supply in the Basque Country is 100% public, through its local entities, either directly by town councils or consortia.
Next-generation digital technologies offer unlimited potential to transform water systems, according to Uriarte, “it will help us become more resilient and innovative.” If we are able to exploit and use these data correctly, it will be possible to expand water resources, extend life cycles, improve financial security and reduce environmental impacts, among other things.