The Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition has published a request for applications for 200 million euros to support the digitalization of water management. This is the first of several funding packages that will become available in the short and medium term.
The Spanish government, as part of NextGenerationEU, the recovery plan for Europe, is implementing a Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. Within this plan, several key strategic areas for the country’s economy – the digitalization of water management being one of them – have been identified to receive stimulus funding, implemented through a Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE).
Coinciding with World Water Day, the PERTE to advance the digitalization of water cycle management in Spain was approved on March 22 of this year. The project foresees the creation of an estimated 3,500 jobs and the mobilization of more than 3 billion euros in public and private funds in 2022 and 2023. The goal of this funding instrument is to modernize water management systems in Spain, including irrigation and the urban water cycle, by accelerating the uptake of digital technologies.
Last week, during the Smart Water Summit (SWS) organized by iAgua, Francisco Javier Sánchez Martínez, Deputy Director General for Water Protection and Risk Management at the Ministry for Ecological Transition, shared with the audience the implementation status of the PERTE to advance the digitalization of water cycle management in Spain. During his speech, he highlighted the four lines of action of the PERTE: first, the improvement of governance in the management of water uses. Secondly, accelerating the digitalization of river basin authorities, which has a budget of 225 million euros and focuses on internal digitalization processes. The third line of action comprises grant programmes to support improvements in efficiency and digitalization for the different water users in the country. This line of action has a budget of 1,700 million euros, highlighted Sanchez Martinez during his presentation.
"The first request for applications, a competitive process for unique projects to support the digitalization of the urban water cycle, will allocate grants worth from three to ten million per project."
Finally, he spoke about the fourth and last line of action: the promotion of training and innovation in digital skills in the administration and management of water.
The request for applications published today in Spain’s Official State Gazette pertains to grants under the third line of action of the PERTE. A total of 200 million euros will be awarded in grants of between 3 and 10 million euros to improve the efficiency of the urban water cycle. Of that total, 60 million are reserved for proposals involving more than five municipalities or for groups of applicants.
The projects may include three types of actions: type A would deal with planning, type B, which would include specific initiatives to improve efficiency and digitalization, and finally type C, related to information management.
Applications may be submitted within ninety working days from October 1.