What are the objectives set by Canaragua to contribute to social reconstruction after the Covid-19 pandemic?
We focus on what we have wanted to call the social pact. It is what we offer to our interlocutors to make a reconstruction based on solidarity, quality employment and green reconstruction. Our interlocutors are the town councils, the social entities through which solidarity is channeled, and our workers and suppliers because when we say quality occupation it means that they obviously have to do their job, but we have to correspond with training and with guarantees of prevention in terms of security. Therefore, we are doing what we understand by that social pact, which is the path that the European Union sets for us and is what will allow us to frame the Next Generation recovery funds. That is the way, Next Generation Funds, a social pact and follow the path that the European Union has set for us.
What model does Canaragua’s management represent to promote universal access to water, as an essential resource?
Canaragua, like all Agbar Group companies, the first thing it relies on is operational excellence. We know that the essential thing is that the quality and quantity service is to the satisfaction of the people it serves. Second, it is a business model that is based on that social pact to which we give a higher value. As a company we want to establish a social contract with all stakeholders. Therefore, the social pact is nothing more than the transcription of that social contract with our workers, with our suppliers, with our administrations, with social and civil entities, with universities. In the end, our commitment is to establish an environment of dialogue, of active listening to improve service, which is where we are going, to operational excellence.
Do you think that all the elements are in place so that this social pact is close?
I think we have gone through a time before the Covid in which it was difficult to establish alliances for the essential issues that we had around us. Probably then we were not talking so much about vulnerability or social inequity, but more about sustainability, climate change and the circular economy. I believe that today, the problem of climate change still exists, but the whole issue of social vulnerability has come to the fore. This has made the majority of the agents understand that it is necessary to collaborate and cooperate. So now everyone understands much better that we will only get out of this if there is cooperation between the different parties. As I always remember, that is Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 17.
What is the Company’s roadmap to face the challenge of climate change?
Although emergencies have gone through other issues, it is obvious that climate change is one of the main problems that we have, not only the world, because water is one of the key elements when acting against climate change. And the Canary Islands is a very interesting territory in this sense, because it is a fragmented territory in islands, far from the mainland, with a complex orography and a unique and different biodiversity on each island. Historically, the Canary Islands have had problems with tropical storms, it has suffered from the decrease in rainfall to the increase in demand for agricultural use, the rains are scarcer but more intense. All this means that it has to increase the desalination capacity of seawater, therefore energy consumption increases at a time when the price is high, and I think it will continue to be high for a long time. Added to this are other problems such as fires or rising sea levels. Therefore, I insist that the problem of tropicalization of the islands must be faced with cooperation, with public-private collaboration and, obviously, with commitments.
“We work to reduce 90% of CO2 emissions and electricity consumption by 7%, in a few years”
What are Canaragua’s commitments in this regard?
The 90% reduction in CO2 emissions, limiting electricity consumption and reducing it by 7% in the coming years. Since 2019, one hundred percent of the electricity that we consume comes from green energy. All of these are commitments that we are adopting on our side to reduce the effects of climate change and they have to be complemented with that collaboration and cooperation with the other parties. We have no choice but to go down that path, increase investments to increase the resilience of large cities, and bet on the circular economy.
“It is obvious that we are not going to collect water from any neighbor affected by the La Palma volcano”
What actions do you contemplate on La Palma to help mitigate the effects of the volcano?
Now what you have to do is turn to all emergency actions, and coordinate with the authorities that are on the ground, bother as little as possible and put ourselves at your disposal. Canaragua manages the water in Tazacorte, therefore the essential thing is to guarantee the service with the total quality. We have increased our material and personal resources, to be able to act in the repair of pipes, raise the analyzes, and anticipate possible emergency situations. On the other hand, it is obvious that we are not going to charge any of the neighbors affected by the volcano for water. And when the effects of the eruption have passed, we will have to see what investments we need to restore everything that the volcano has taken through. Both with the mayor of Tazacorte and with the other authorities, we are in full coordination to ensure everything we can from our means.
“In the fight against climate change we must guarantee a just transition, leave no one behind”
From Agbar there is a strong involvement with the SDGs, what projects would you highlight in this regard?
Faced with sustainable development, we have many projects. We are focusing on the infrastructures not causing any alteration in the surrounding ecological system and, above all, in the circular economy. In this sense, one of the most important actions we have in the Archipelago is the reuse of treated water, because the effect of climate change reduces the amount of water there is and we need to make the most of that water within the circular economy. . On the other hand, within the framework of the Next Generation projects, we work with green infrastructures in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, in Gran Canaria, that preserve biodiversity in the landscape.
“We innovate in the reuse of treated water and in infrastructures that do not alter biodiversity”
Talent and research is another of the Company’s bets. What actions do you carry out in this field?
In the short term, one of the innovations we are working on is the digitization of all our operations. We have several Dinapsis control centers, which allow us to digitize all our operations, in addition to conducting research in time and in cooperation with other people and entities, and connecting with the public so they can see what we do. In the long term, we work on infrastructure to mitigate the effects of climate change. Ultimately, the action we take on climate change is very important, but we have to create a roadmap for everyone to reach the European Union’s goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050. Hence the importance of a public-private partnership, and of ensuring a just transition, because we cannot leave anyone behind. The fight against climate change is at the center of the SDG roadmap.
“Since 2019, one hundred percent of the electricity we consume comes from green energy”
Has the Covid-19 pandemic changed the agenda and priorities of the Fundación Acuorum Iberoamericana Canaria de Agua, which it presides?
The central axis of the Foundation continues to be our program called Talent Scholarships that we started in 2017, for those people who, without us, could not have access to the University. At this time, with the agreement established with the Heidelberg School in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, we have 19 scholarship holders in their international baccalaureate studies in science and university.