The Acciona Agua division supplies water to over 90 million people around the world, primarily in water-scarce regions. As water scarcity is predicted to increase in the future, this is not only beneficial to those living in these regions but also to Acciona, who won four bids in 2015 cumulatively worth over US$500 billion. In supplying clean energy and producing a net-positive hydric footprint, Acciona’s profits represent the business case for water and climate stewardship.
The predicted rise in climate-related water scarcity will incentivise desalination and the treatment of wastewater to high quality standards, as well as the commissioning of water-efficient infrastructure. Acciona is well-placed to capitalise on this and has created the Acciona Agua division to provide global solutions for the sustainable development of the water sector. Acciona Agua’s operations are increasingly concentrated in water stressed regions and has an annual income of US$513million.
Acciona Agua is committed to R&D: in 2015 they invested over US$20million to increase Acciona Agua’s expertise and ability to win contracts in water-scarce regions. Acciona Agua also participates in the LIFE+ ‘Renewat’ program, working to reduce energy consumption during water treatment for reuse. Acciona is also committed to tackling emerging pollutants- trace composites such as pesticides or medicines which are not eliminated in conventional purification processes. In anticipation of future discharge regulations relating to these substances, Acciona has several projects investigating the most promising avenues in water treatment technology.
As this is an ongoing program, Acciona will not fully understand the outcomes for some time. It is clear, however, that the Acciona Agua division has been able to recognize and capitalise on the growing demand in water-stressed regions. Acciona Agua has identified promising gaps in best practice for future investment, such as treatment efficiency and emerging pollutants, and estimates full returns on its research programs in as little as 2 years.