Sanitation for 7 million people in the next 7 years
The Sustainable Development Goals are driving us to ambitious outcomes, one of which is to guarantee access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, achieving universalization of both services means we need to increase the provision of drinking water to more than 4 million people, and sanitation services to 7 million. That is why hosting the Water and Development Congress & Exhibition 2017 here, in Buenos Aires, is timely – it provides an opportunity to identity advances in the water sector globally and plan the necessary steps to achieve the ambitious Agenda 2030 before it’s too late.
The Argentinian utility company Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos (AySA) has a big responsibility for the great project that lies ahead: within the framework of the National Water Plan, it carries out the Metropolitan Area Plan, one of the most important water and sanitation programs currently being implemented in the world, considering the magnitude of the works, the required investment (12.500 million dollars) and the number of beneficiaries. The objective of the Plan is to reach 100% coverage of water and sanitation by 2023.
By June of this year, 191 works are already under way, 14 are about to be started, 62 are in the bidding process and another 21 in a project phase. While advancing in this great project, it is essential to address and provide solutions to the problems faced by the sectors that still lack these services. With this intention and in a context of institutional articulation, the company carries out the Water + Work and Sewage + Work plans in municipalities of the province of Buenos Aires under the mandate of AySA. These plans have the dual purpose of extending drinking water and sewage networks in neighborhoods with high social vulnerability, reducing sanitary risk, and generating genuine employment through the creation of labour cooperatives.
Another key aspect is the continuity and quality of the services to the millions of inhabitants currently served. For this, the company has proposed a Technological Update Plan and has implemented a Quality Operational Plan, which aim to ensure that 100% of the organisation is under a Certified Management System. These efforts deserved important recognition: in 2014, AySA was awarded the National Award for Quality and, in 2016, the Ibero-American Award for Quality.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly stated that access to safe drinking water and sanitation was an essential human right. Guaranteeing these services, through the sustainable management of a scarce and essential natural resource, is therefore one of the greatest and urgent challenges of our time. We believe that partnership, participation and dialogue are key. The joint work of governments, companies and civil society will be fundamental to reach these goals, which are part of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We are looking forward to seeing worldwide participants share innovative and sustainable solutions for adoption in emerging economies so that we no longer move in different speeds of development, and can leverage the opportunities timely to get our water future right. Let’s connect at the Water and Development Congress and Exhibition in Buenos Aires!