During the 2018 Global Water Summit that took place in Paris on 18 April 2018, Hera was admitted within the 28 Leading Utilities of the World, a network that brings together the planet’s most innovative and successful companies in the water and wastewater sector. Within such framework, the utility companies share knowledge and projects, in addition to creating opportunities for collaboration.

Hera passed a thorough selection process managed by a dedicated commission, which was responsible for assessing the innovative content of the showcase projects that Hera presented in order to prove its approach to the management of the integrated water cycle. The acceptance into the LUOW proves that the Company runs this business according to standards considered as best practices at international level.

We talk about these topics with Mr. Franco Fogacci, Hera’s Water Business Director

Mr. Fogacci, what allowed Hera to be admitted within the LUOW network?
Hera runs a sizeable water business: we distribute over 300 million cubic metres of water each year and provide our services to 3.6 million people. Since we have always been among the leading operators in the sector in Italy, we have interpreted our role with great commitment and responsibility, as proven by the investments carried out, which exceeded 550 million euro over the last five years.

It is a priority for us to maintain 53,000 km of network at high level of efficiency. The same applies to 900 plants for water production, treatment and purification. By doing so, we ensure business continuity to our users, even in periods of serious drought, such as the one that we had to face in 2017, and we supply a safe water, guaranteed by over 2,000 daily analyses. Anyway, we are not just a reliable operator, capable of running a large-scale business; we are also deeply innovation-oriented. All of these features contributed to Hera’s inclusion within the Leading Utilities of the World.

How would you define innovation in this sector?
We boast cutting-edge technologies, based on the automation of management processes and leveraging on the remote control of networks and plants. With these solutions, we can guarantee continuity in the distribution service and maintain network leakages among the lowest in the country. During the Global Water Summit 2018 in Paris, we presented some case histories that have sparked great interest.

Please, give us an example…
We explained that our Sea Bathing Protection Plan for Rimini has provided complete resolution of the critical status that had affected that coastal area for years. Whenever a serious rainfall event occurred, the area was penalised by the issue of no-bathing orders, as a result of an infrastructure combining the rain runoff and the sewer system. During the summer, the high concentration of tourists exacerbated the problem, with peaks over 16 million people versus a local population of 146,000 citizens.

How could you overcome this challenge?
Firstly, we have doubled the capacity of the WWTP plant by activating a new treatment line, equipped with an ultrafiltration membrane; such treatment line is currently the largest in Europe. Secondly, whenever it was possible, we have separated the sewage network from the rain runoff system and re-connected more than 2,500 buildings. Lastly, we have built a storage system in the main seawalk, with a capacity of approximately 40,000 cubic metres. With the aim of facing exceptional rains, we have also built three large pipes, with high diametres, that discharge water into the sea. The United Nations recognised the uniqueness of the project and included it among those reported to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

How does the LUOW inclusion come within your corporate responsibility path?
Our attention to sustainable management of water sees us involved on the front line in a multi-level effort. I am glad to remind you that Hera has recently signed the CEO Water Mandate, an initiative of the UN Global Compact. Every day we are committed to operating our business very seriously, while continuously searching for new solutions. Therefore, we welcome the opportunities for joining any international initiative and network that may help us in understanding whether we are on the right track and encouraging us to do better.

Franco Fogacci
Franco Fogacci
10 May 2018
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