Meeting the needs of current society: anticipating the future through closeness, commitment, transparency, innovation and efficiency — those are the mission and values embraced by Aqualia over the past twelve months of work.
JANUARY: 'Our vision of efficiency is doing a lot with very little, and transforming waste water in a resource' (IWS, Abu Dhabi)
This statement by José Enrique Bofill, Area Manager of Aqualia for the Middle East and North Africa, and Asia, presented the innovative approach to network management of the company during his speech at the International Water Summit held in January 2018 in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).
Besides participating in the programme of activities, Aqualia organised a workshop on its main innovation projects and the advanced network management by the company in the capital city, where Aqualia manages the operation and maintenance of the sanitation and treatment network in the Eastern Region, including the city of Al Ain and remote areas, and serving a population of more than 650,000 people.
FEBRUARY: International expansion: new contracts in Oman and Panama
During the month of February, Aqualia signed two of its most important international contracts of 2018. On one hand, the operation of the hydraulic facilities at the Sohar Port, in Oman, which strengthens the presence of the company in the Near East and North of Africa, where it has a project portfolio worth 250 million euros.
On the other hand, Aqualia's experience in the management of public water services was recognised by the IDAAN, Panama's national authority responsible for water conveyance and sewerage [Instituto de Acueductos y Alcantarillados Nacionales]. The public authority chose the company to provide technical assistance and support over the next five years. With this contract, Aqualia's business continues to grow in LATAM, where it has important projects including the Arraiján ESTE waste water treatment plant (Panama), the Guaymas seawater desalination plant (Sonora, Mexico), or the El Salitre waste water treatment plant (Bogotá, Colombia).
MARCH: World Water Day, with a focus on children
In 2018, Aqualia celebrated World Water Day launching the website www.aqualiaeduca.com, a website for kids and grown-ups where they can learn about the water cycle and access entertaining information in different formats to learn how to use this scarce resource in a responsible manner. The website has a 'Cinema' with educational, audio-visual content; a 'Reading room' with comic books and story books published by Aqualia; fun activities where kids can use their creativeness and show everything they know about the water cycle; contests, advice, a variety of educational materials, etc. That is, a wide range of materials to learn and have fun.
In order to showcase the work involved in bringing water from nature to the tap every day, the company launched in March the 16th edition of the Digital Contest for Kids 'Water for Grifus' [Agua para Grifus].
APRIL: A month of awards
Aqualia was selected as one of the best water management companies in the world in 2017 by the publication Global Water Intelligence (GWI), receiving the 'Distinction Award', which recognises the success of the financial, social and environmental management models of the company over the previous year.
Also, the video 'Integrated water cycle management as you never heard before' [La gestión del ciclo integral del agua como jamás te la habían contado], produced by Aqualia, received the best video award at the Ramón del Corral Awards by Dircom, the Spanish Association of Communication Managers. This is the second award Aqualia receives for this video, as it was already awarded with the Best Video by the iAgua Awards in 2017.
On the other hand, the R&D team also received recognition in the month of April. The project Smart Green Gas, led by Aqualia, with the collaboration of the SEAT company, was selected as an 'Innovative Project' by the GASNAM awards, given by the Iberian association that promotes the use of natural gas for mobility [Asociación Ibérica de Gas Natural para la Movilidad]. The award acknowledges the success of the project allowing compressed natural gas (CNG) cars to travel long distances using only biomethane obtained from the waste water treatment plant managed by Aqualia in Jerez (province of Cádiz, Spain).
MAY: We join the challenge of building a greener future
Two LIFE projects where Aqualia participates, Methamorphosis and Answer, were selected to take part in the events organised across Europe to celebrate the European Green Week. The facilities of the Ecoparque 2 municipal waste treatment plant (Montcada i Reixac, Barcelona) and the Mahou-San Miguel Group factory (Alovera, province of Guadalajara, Spain) opened their doors to the public for two days to showcase these projects that promote cities that are more liveable and friendlier to work in.
In addition, the project 'Formentera, Water Smart Island' was at the front stage in the SWAN International Conference 2018, that held its 8th edition in Barcelona in 2018. Daisee Aguilera, head of Environment at the Formentera Island Council (Balearic Islands, Spain), and Ángel Encinas, researcher at Aqualia's Department of Innovation and Technology, presented the successful implementation of this system.
JUNE: Francisco Jiménez (Diario SUR) receives Aqualia's Journalism Award
Coinciding with World Environment Day (June 5th), Aqualia held a ceremony to present the 2nd Aqualia Journalism Award. The article 'A constant trickle in the middle of the drought' [Un goteo constante en plena sequía], published by journalist Francisco Jiménez of the newspaper Diario Sur, won the First Prize, presented by Félix Parra, Director General of Aqualia.
The awards ceremony, held at the premises of the Madrid Press Association, gathered some one hundred professionals from the water sector, news media, as well as company members and senior managers. Ms Elsa González, president of the Federation of Journalists Associations of Spain, addressed the audience during the event.
JULY: 12th Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report
Aqualia issued at the beginning of July its Corporate Social Responsibility Report for 2017, a year where the company moved forward to achieve real sustainability, based on transparency, innovation, and well-being at work. Some of the milestones highlighted were: a record number of costumers signing up for electronic billing services, thus benefiting the environment; investments worth more than 4 million euros in research, development and innovation, with the development of 10 patents and 20 active projects; or obtaining certification as a Family Responsible Company.
AUGUST: Partnership with the NGO Cáritas to fight against poverty and social exclusion
Aqualia renewed, once more, its collaboration agreement with the NGO Cáritas at a meeting that brought together Manuel Bretón, National President of Cáritas Diocesana, Santiago Lafuente, Director for Spain at Aqualia, and José Luis Rivas, Mayor of Ávila.
The collaboration agreement comprises a series of actions so that nobody in a vulnerable situation has to do without water services. In addition, every year Aqualia donates to Cáritas an amount equal to the water bills of the NGO's centres located wherever the company provides services. During the summer months, the company, together with municipal representatives, presented cheques to the different Cáritas centres that are part of the agreement signed by both entities.
SEPTEMBER: New era with the entry of the ethical fund IFM Investors
In September the Australian ethical fund IFM Investors and FCC formally closed the sale of 49% of Aqualia for 1024 million euros, after obtaining the approval of the European Commission last August 22nd, and under the Merger Regulations of the EU and the Mexican Federal Commission on Economic Competition.
The deal strengthens the capacity of Aqualia, supports the company's trajectory and acknowledges its reputation as a technological and specialised partner of public authorities and industry for the provision of services linked to water management.
OCTOBER: One of the 100 best companies to work for
Aqualia was selected as one of the 100 best companies to work for in Spain as per the annual ranking of 'Actualidad Económica', the leading Spanish business magazine. The publication highlights as Aqualia's strengths its work environment, the training offered to employees and the talent management policy.
Aqualia is the only water management company that made it to the 20th edition of this ranking, acknowledging those companies that excel in human resource management, and is one of seven utility companies that stand out in human resource management according to the ranking, which also recognises the good practices of Enagás, Naturgy, Sacyr, Iberdrola, EDP España or Ferrovial.
NOVEMBER: Aqualia Contact: multiple channels for customer service
The real value of technologies in a service company lies in facilitating the customers day-to-day life, optimising formalities and creating transparent communication channels. With this in mind, Aqualia Contact was conceived, Aqualia's comprehensive customer service with multiple channels.
Aqualia took the plunge into social media in 2018, setting up a customer service account in Twitter and a new comprehensive service, with the new CRM 360º system of Aqualia, offering users relevant information in real time through SMS text messaging. These new channels add up to the existing ones: in person at the customer service office, the online customer service office, the call centre and the application for mobile phones. All of them are now under the name Aqualia Contact.
In this manner, customers can access a great team of professionals and use any of the channels made available to them, so that their experience with Aqualia's customer service is the best it can be.
DECEMBER: We close the cycle #CompromisoAqualia with the Sustainable Development Goals
In December Aqualia brought to a close its annual corporate campaign #CompromisoAqualia, focused on the company's contribution to 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations for 2030.
On a monthly basis, Aqualia has been posting at www.compromisoreal.com content related to the SDGs, including SDG 6 'Clean water and sanitation’, SDG 5 'Gender equality', SDG 11 'Sustainable cities and communities' or SDG 1 'No poverty'.
Throughout these months, company professionals, experts in each of the SDGs, have participated in the campaign, contributing specific information about that commitment. Félix Parra, Director General; Santiago Lafuente, Director for Spain; Carmen Rodríguez, Director for People; Isidoro Marbán, Economic Director; Juan Pablo Merino, Director of Communications and CSR; or Pedro Rodríguez, Director of Studies and Operations, are some of the key players that have joined the campaign #CompromisoAqualia.