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A. Simón (Agbar) at ESADE: ‘Agriculture is one strategic area we will be focusing on in the coming years’
• ‘In future, we would like to have a balanced portfolio in terms of urban, industrial and agricultural water management’, Simón explained
• The Agbar CEO stressed the need to ‘promote the complete reuse of wastewater’
13 February 2018 — ‘If we had to define a business strategy, it would be to diversify what we are doing’, said Angel Simón, CEO of Agbar, at the most recent session of Matins ESADE, sponsored by Bluecap and organised in collaboration with La Vanguardia.
‘In future, we will need to have a balanced portfolio in terms of cities, industry and agriculture: agriculture is one of the strategic areas we will be focusing on in the coming years’, he continued. ‘Agriculture is the great challenge for us as a civilization. It is a huge consumer of water, with a share of 70%’, he said.
More ‘resilient’ cities
According to the Agbar CEO, with urban water management, ‘the challenge is to create more resilient cities’. In particular, he added, ‘we have to promote the complete reuse of wastewater’.
‘Since the last draught in 2008, we have been working on the reuse of water in the metropolitan area. If we have not yet managed to implement it completely, it is because of administrative obstacles’, he said. He added, ‘A metropolitan area like ours should have a perfect water purification system producing completely reusable water.’
‘In Santiago, Chile, for example, we have developed biofactories to advance in wastewater treatment’, he explained. In his view from Agbar, ‘There has been relatively little progress in the city of Barcelona in the last three years.’ ‘The ability to act proactively is important in complex times, and urban water management is not easy’, he said.
Asked about the use of water desalination plants, he explained that ‘they are the solution for certain types of territories’. He cited the example of SUEZ, which is using this type of plant in various Latin American and
Middle Eastern countries. In the case of Barcelona, Simón said, ‘desalination is used as a supplementary solution’.
At the Matins ESADE session, the Agbar CEO offered an overview of the 150-year history of the company, which was founded in 1867, ‘in a complex environment marked by competition from both other companies and the local government’.
‘With water, we need governance, a global governance in which we can work’, he said. In this regard, he called for cooperation between the various stakeholders, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN to meet the major challenges of the future.