The flow of water through society is considered as critical infrastructure. And rightly so. We need to maintain a functional water infrastructure to keep our society from collapsing. As long as water flows from the tap, no one pays water supply a second thought, and as long as the water washes through the drain from the wash basin or the shower, no one even considers the fact that wastewater handling is a necessity, at least not in the Western world. The situation is different in other parts of the world, where they have inadequate water supply and no proper sanitation. The fact is that 2,1 billion people do not have a steady water supply in their homes, and by the year 2025, 1.9 billion people are expected to live with an absolute shortage of water. The water loss in the distribution grid ranges from 5-80% – in Europe alone, the average water loss is 26%. At the other end, 80% of all humanly induced wastewater is led directly into nature without cleansing of any kind which in turn causes massive pollution and disease. If the world could get the water situation under control, the savings of the healthcare system would amount to 25%.
In addition, the International Energy Agency has calculated that untreated wastewater emits more than three times the amount of CO2 than wastewater that has been treated and cleansed. If the sub-goal 6.3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 6 has to be realised; i.e. if half the currently untreated wastewater is collected and treated, and if resources are used for energy production, it would correspond to the production from all coal-fired power plants in Europe, meaning that they could be closed down, in turn leading to a massive CO2 reduction.
The common denominator of a sustainable water infrastructure is investments in products with a long lifespan and a high level of functionality. The water supply companies must prioritise the total cost of ownership higher than they do now. Recently, we learned of a water treatment plant that after four years in operation is not working anymore, because only price was an issue at the tender process. How is that sustainable?
In this issue of InterLink, you can read about projects where AVK has played a part and where functionality and a long lifespan have been key elements. You can also read about the importance of quick response times as well as other good stories from the world of AVK.