This is a new commitment for Veolia’s water business in France and its VE-CGE’s subsidiary. A new commitment that goes hand-in-hand with a high ambition: deliver exemplary drinking water and wastewater service to a larger population of 261,000 in the region and contribute to the sustainable economic development of Greater Nîmes.
This new contract steered by Greater Nîmes will set a trend for its modern approach: a unique public service delegation of both drinking water and wastewater, shared governance including representatives of civil society, a company established specifically for the contract, and reinvented digital and human-scale consumer relations.
Worth €185 million over eight years, this contract will provide Veolia’s teams with an opportunity to significantly improve the network’s yield up to 82%. An investment in high-tech that will include the rollout of more than 2,500 connected objects across the network to identify even the smallest leaks. It will also mean the introduction the “Hypervision 360” management system using digital technology to assist the people on the ground and capitalize on data to improve facility management and risk prevention: real-time diagnostic tools paired with the latest-generation cameras, the introduction of smart water meters for 95% of subscribers within three years, the integration of weather forecasts to manage the impact of rainfall in the Cevennes to the north and make further adjustments to inundation prevention.
New services, excellence and transparency
The Veolia contract introduces a new customized relationship with citizen-consumers who can now use their smartphone to access real-time information about their water consumption and receive alerts in the event of a problem.
Improving the network yield will conserve water resources. In all, more than 15 million cubic meters of water will be saved, that is the equivalent of its own consumption.
This virtuous circle is an ideal response to the city’s demand for sustainable development. Veolia will invest €17 million in the construction of an anaerobic digestion plant to treat all the region’s sludge. The biogas produced will be used to run the city’s buses.
Veolia will also introduce citizen control with four of the city’s inhabitants invited to sit on the board of the local company in charge of managing the service. These citizens will not just be ambassadors; they will participate in budgetary and strategic decisions.
Pending the contract’s entry into force in January 2020, Veolia has planned a secure transition period reflecting its determination to meet with each of the 114 transferable employees in the coming weeks and reassure them individually that their jobs are safe. Further hires will be needed, in particular for the smart meter rollout.
“We are proud and honored to serve the aim of extending this municipal drinking water and wastewater service to the entire metropolitan region,” says Frédéric Van Heems, CEO of Veolia’s water business in France. “By introducing the latest technological and digital innovations to significantly improve network management, protect the resource, involve consumers and assist the most disadvantaged members of the community, and by adding new subscribers services with an excellent price:quality ratio, together with Greater Nimes we will rebuild pride among the city’s residents of their water and wastewater service.”