Idrica, an international water industry technology company, has opened a regional office in Barranquilla, Colombia. The aim of the venture is to strengthen its position in the country by providing technological solutions, promoting the digital transformation of water management, and responding to water access challenges in the context of the ongoing crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Water management in six municipalities in the Atlantico Department
The Spanish company is already running its first water management operations in six Colombian municipalities: Manati, Candelaria, Repelon, Campo de la Cruz, Santa Lucia and Luruaco, located in the south of the Atlantico Department.
Idrica (Aguas de Valencia) supports the operation of the water networks and sewerage services in these municipalities through Aguas del Sur del Atlántico (AQSUR). The service focuses on the supply of drinking water to 23,000 customers, thereby resolving the quality and scarcity of drinking water, especially in some neighborhoods and rural areas where it was not available. It also manages wastewater sewage treatment for 7,000 customers. The project includes the operation of eight drinking water treatment plants and three wastewater treatment plants.
The Spanish company is already running its first water management operations in six Colombian municipalities
The contract began three years ago, with Idrica participating in corrective and preventive maintenance plans; the acquisition of equipment to control and monitor the quality of the water supplied, and the prioritization of investments in the existing network, in order to respond to urgent needs such as water shortages in certain neighborhoods.
To date, the company has been able to improve the continuity of supply by 280%, water quality by 130% and user coverage by 30%. "These improvements have been achieved thanks to our contractor Aresur, the six municipal councils and the government of Atlantico, who have supported and listened to the needs of these municipalities that have suffered greatly from water scarcity for many years", says Idrica's COO in Colombia, Francisco Ríos.
The goal is to continue working so that all municipalities have access to water 24 hours a day and make the infrastructure efficient in order to guarantee an excellent service for their citizens. To this end, "priority is being given to smaller-scale initiatives that have an impact on improving distribution," says Francisco Ríos. In addition, the company is also working on registering customers in its database, micro-metering, and billing and collection services, thanks to the application of GoAigua digital technology, such as the GoAigua Billing and GoAigua Customers digital solutions, which combine reading, billing, collection and customer services.
Launch pad for new projects in Colombia
These initial operations in the Atlantico Department are the launch pad for other medium-term projects in the rest of the country, aimed at hydraulic efficiency (leaks, losses, telemetry), monitoring the spread of COVID-19 by sampling the wastewater treatment network, remote control of operations, and satellite-based coastal erosion surveillance of the Colombian coasts and rivers.
Expansion in Latin America
The start of operations in Colombia is part of the firm's internationalization plan in the priority region of Latin America. Its objective is to become one of the main management service providers for the entire water cycle in Latin America.
These initial operations in the Atlantico Department are the launch pad for other medium-term projects in the rest of the country
"Growing in a market which has such close ties to the Spanish market is not only one of the mainstays of our global expansion. It also represents our commitment to improve and optimize access to drinking water and sanitation in our sister countries," explains Jaime Barba, Idrica's founding CEO.
In addition to Colombia, "we plan to expand this year in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, implementing O&M projects and providing technical assistance, as well as supplying technology to monitor and optimize processes. Our technological and digital solutions for end-to-end management of the water cycle are the result of a decade of expertise driving digital transformation in water utilities, which is endorsed by the experience of belonging to Global Omnium, a Spanish utility that currently manages the water supply in more than 400 cities," says Chema Nebot, Idrica's Business Development Director.