The Spanish region of Aragon announces the largest regional water treatment plant in Europe at IFAT

Apr 22, 2008

The investment is in excess of one billion euros and will permit the sanitation of an annual volume equal to that of a large canal between Munich and Zaragoza. A pioneer management model is applied with the participation of the Government of Aragon and the private initiative, including companies such as ACCIONA WATER, AQUALIA, ATECMA, ISOLUX WAT, and the Temporary Unions of Companies (UTE by its Spanish initials) UTE Marcor Ebro-URBASER and UTE López Navarro-COMSA.

The Spanish region of Aragon announces its plan for wastewater treatment at the IFAT in Munich.  It is the largest regional programme of this type in Europe, with an investment in excess of more than one billion euros in 171 works.

Aragon will have a stand (located in pavilion EO/05 Hall East Entrance), where it will present its pioneer experience via different information materials.  The Department of the Environment of the Government of Aragon will take part in the stand as well as six companies that participate in this Special Plan for Water Treatment: ACCIONA WATER, AQUALIA, ATECMA, ISOLUX WAT, UTE Marcor Ebro-URBASER and UTE López Navarro-COMSA.  The regional minister of the Environment of Aragon, Alfredo Boné will participate in the inauguration of the fair, invited by the regional minister of the Environment of Bavaria, Otmar Bernhard.  Boné is also president of the Environmental Conference of the Regions of Europe (ENCORE).

A pioneer plan

The presentation will show the pioneer experience in Aragon, via a new management model, the public works concession model.  This formula is the only one that guarantees that Aragon can meet the European obligation of treating all the wastewater by the year 2015, as it permits a strong involvement of the private sector, having an impact on investment, jobs, efficiency and effectiveness.  This model has already aroused the interest of the OECD, the Spanish Government as well as the governments of several countries and regions in Europe.

Via this new management model, the concessionary (public tender winning company) drafts the construction project for the works, constructs the installations and exploits them for a 20-year period.  The concessionary receives an income in agreement with the flow volume of treated water and provided that the output parameters are satisfied.  This pricing system guarantees that the investments made will not count as an administration debt and therefore more resources can be devoted to other government areas, maintaining the indebtedness levels established by the laws on budgetary stability.

The special plan in figures

The Special Plan will treat 62 cubic metres of wastewater each year, which is the equivalent to the volume carried by a full canal measuring 10 x 3.5 metres that goes from Zaragoza to Munich.  Work on the first phase of the Special Plan is being finished in 2007 and 2008, involving the first 90 works, for an estimated value of 450 million euros (for construction and exploitation of 77 treatment plants and 13 collectors for 20 years). The construction of 37 more works has been awarded (second phase), for a value of around 263 million.  The remaining works have already been put out to tender or awarded.

According to a study by the Aragonese Economy Foundation (Fundear), the Plan will have a direct and indirect effect on the Aragonese economy of 810 million euros and will generate 18,691 jobs between 2006 and 2027, at an average of 850 jobs per year, as well as the 200 jobs per year that are considered necessary to operate the new treatment plants.

Great international experience of Aragon

Aragon is an international leader in water and the environment.  Its capital, Zaragoza, will organise the International Exposition “Expo Zaragoza 2008” on water and sustainable development between June and September.  Zaragoza is also the headquarters of the UN Water Decade Office (2005-2015).

The Government of Aragon has an International Centre for Water and the Environment (CIAMA-La Alfranca), which is enabling Aragon to be present at the most prestigious study and decision-making forums on water and the environment in the world.  One of the main forums is the presidency of ENCORE (Environmental Conference of the Regions of Europe), held by Boné and whose plenary session will be held in Zaragoza in June 2008, on water and climate change.

Aragon, a land over rivers, glaciers and steppes

Aragon is a historical region (it first became a kingdom in the 9th century and it was the origin of the former Crown of Aragon).  It is located in the north-east of Spain, bordering to the north with France (via the Pyrenees), to the east with Catalonia and the Valencian Community, to the west with Navarre, La Rioja and Castile-Leon, and to the south with Castile-La Mancha.  It is one of the 17 Autonomous Communities of Spain, with full competences in major management matters.

The territory of Aragon is slightly larger in extension than that of countries such as Switzerland, Belgium or the Netherlands.  It represents 10 percent the territory of Spain (47,719 square kilometres) but only 3 percent its population (almost 1,300,000 inhabitants).  This territorial dispersion represents a great challenge when facing up to the works and cost of water treatment.

Aragon enjoys a valuable natural heritage with strong contrasts, from the glaciers of the Pyrenees to the steppes of the Monegros (the largest in the south of Europe).  Our Community has more than 18,000 kilometres of rivers and almost 40 percent of the territory has a protection figure.

Departamento de Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Aragón

Edificio Pignatelli
Paseo María Agustín 36
Puerta 7, Plant
50071 Zaragoza (ES)


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Departamento de Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Aragón