Global Omnium, a Spanish company with more than 125 years of experience in water cycle management, facilitates the supply of drinking water to 3 million people, with a clear commitment to innovation. The coronavirus crisis led to the implementation of new processes and ways of working. However, thanks to the digital transformation already completed by the company, the measures were implemented seamlessly.
Juan Francisco Maestre Picón, Head of Services at Global Omnium, details the steps taken by the utility to meet the new needs, and how it has maintained its commitment to the environment and public health.
Question: How has the coronavirus crisis affected services at Global Omnium?
Answer: Our day-to-day operations were altered in an unexpected way in March. However, we managed to keep providing the same quality service without interruptions.
One Friday afternoon we finished our day of work as usual, and the following Monday telecommuting started. The digital transformation of all our processes and services has allowed us to keep working flawlessly. That is, we have continued monitoring facilities, visiting them for preventive and corrective maintenance, improving the hydraulic performance of the distribution networks, and controlling the quality of drinking water and wastewater. The aim is to guarantee public health and protect the environment. Water supply is an essential service that must be maintained, and this is our commitment.
We are providing vital information to authorities to anticipate coronavirus outbreaks through wastewater analysis
Q: What measures have been taken to guarantee drinking water service?
A: It has not been necessary to take exceptional measures, beyond staff control, telecommuting or maintaining social distances, with the creation of independent work groups that minimize the impact on our staff in the face of a positive coronavirus case.
The monitoring of SARS-CoV2 in the wastewater from our work centers is helping us to validate the measures taken, when we do not detect the virus, or to take preventive and corrective actions if necessary. The GoAigua SARS Analytics early warning system, which we currently use, is being implemented nationwide to monitor cities and private and public entities, such as residences, schools, workplaces, etc.
Q: What is the role played by the GoAigua solution in the management of this crisis?
A: The GoAigua technological solution has been, undoubtedly, a critical element in facing the new challenges. To cite a few examples, thanks to GoAigua we can assign work orders remotely and geolocate their resolution, monitor and manage production facilities in real time, or automate the laboratory to obtain real-time results for SARS-CoV-2 presence.
We are providing vital information to authorities to anticipate coronavirus outbreaks through wastewater analysis and the GoAigua SARS Analytics early warning system. This is a high value-added solution for any utility worldwide.
Q: Do you think this crisis will cause long-term changes in the management of water services?
A: The service changed quickly on the first day of confinement, just as it did in other business sectors. From that moment on, telecommuting has been promoted, in addition to the creation of small autonomous work groups, which set their own objectives, the digitalization of processes and, above all, the transformation of sewage networks into a system for monitoring people's health.
Until now we had focused on evaluating the environmental quality of wastewater. Now, a new need arises: to map the evolution of the epidemic in our cities through its analysis.