Consistent implementation of the most important programs and projects for development of drinking water supply systems in Uzbekistan has significantly improved the water supply in cities and regions, including rural areas. In recent years, significant work has been carried out to improve the water supply to the population that meets modern requirements for the quality and safety of drinking water: several thousand kilometers of water pipelines and water supply networks, water wells, water towers and reservoirs have been built and reconstructed.
At the same time, the construction of new residential areas, the expansion of cities and settlements and, of course, the increase in the population require the adoption of effective measures to radically improve the guaranteed water supply system, aimed at the modernization and advanced development of water intake facilities, water pipelines, pumping stations, distribution nodes and water networks through the active introduction of modern energy-efficient and resource-efficient technologies. The Targeted Program for construction and reconstruction of the drinking water supply and sewerage system of the Republic of Karakalpakstan and the regions for 2017-2021 approved in 2017, contains 36 investment projects implemented with loans from international financial institutions and best practices of foreign companies.
In continuation of the modernization initiated by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated November 30, 2018 “On Additional Measures for Development of Drinking Water Supply and Sewerage Systems in the Republic of Uzbekistan” the priority areas for further development of water supply and sewerage systems have been identified:
● step-by-step implementation of international best practices in management and operation of water supply and sewerage companies, including based on public-private partnership;
● introduction of modern information and resource-efficient technologies that provide accounting and monitoring in the field of water supply and sewerage, equipping all consumers of the Republic with modern metering devices;
● design, construction and reconstruction of sewerage facilities simultaneously with drinking water supply facilities in order to ensure sanitary requirements in the construction of residential complexes, including the use of local treatment facilities;
● strengthening the financial stability of water and sanitation facilities through development of a new tariff policy that ensures full self-sufficiency in the production and sale of drinking water, facilitating the involvement of the private sector in the management and operation of water and sanitation facilities;
● improvement of the system of training, retraining and professional development of specialists in the sphere of water supply and sewerage based on international best experience.
In accomplishing these tasks cooperation with the French company SUEZ, the world leader in the field of intellectual and sustainable resource management, aimed at further improving the water infrastructure of our country, is of particular importance. As a strategic business partner, SUEZ offers the most comprehensive range of water and wastewater solutions available to help manage and optimize water resources.
The delegation of the magazine “EBU” visited the headquarters of the company SUEZ, located in the business quarter La Defense. During the visit to the company, the Senior Executive Vice-President International Development, Mr. Eric Ghebali answered journalists’ questions, and representatives of the company, headed by the Department Manager, Mr. Gabriel Miguez, organized a presentation on the company’s activities.
– Mr. Ghebali, your company has proposed a pilot project to create an innovative system of water supply management and control, and to reduce the consumed water amount in the capital of Uzbekistan. Tell us about this project, what stages does it include?
– The stages of creation of this system will include feasibility studies, design and construction of water treatment facilities, verification and production of quality drinking water, storage and distribution of water, management of relations with consumers. They will cover the whole Tashkent Region as well as the entire value chain starting from water production all the way down the water cycle until wastewater treatment. Our partner from Uzbekistan is SUE SUVSOZ. The idea is to turn SUVSOZ into a world class utility, providing public services at the highest international standards while optimizing functioning costs and existing resources.
This project will be run under a very innovative form of partnership, which is a “co-management” contract, which is a soft, step-by-step, tailor-made approach adapted to SUVSOZ current conditions and challenges. SUVSOZ will fully assumes its role as operator for the water system of Tashkent and keep full control of the management of the company and its human resources. Tashkent Municipality and other relevant authorities will keep the control on setting the tariff policy. SUEZ will assist SUVSOZ in daily operation, supply equipment, software and technology, train SUVSOZ team and transfer know-how.
– When and how did the cooperation on this project start? Who was its initiator?
– During his visit to France in November 2018, the President of Uzbekistan personally called on the head of SUEZ to assist in the modernization of the water supply system and its management in Tashkent. And although deadline set by the President was really ambitious, the head of the company mobilized efforts to prepare a proposal for Uzbekistan. A team of experts from several dozen people left for Uzbekistan at the end of 2018 for the fact-finding mission to diagnose the water system and develop a joint project to modernize the water supply system in the capital. To date, details have already been discussed, the parties have agreed on the technical part, only signing of joint contracts remains. At the same time, it is not a question of radical and global modernization of the system of drainage and water use, but the improvement of the existing one. It will be a complex system of “smart” management of drinking water production and water consumption, based on artificial intelligence. As a result of joint work, use of the experience and professionalism of the SUE SUVSOZ and SUEZ employees, this agreement will allow to introduce the best practices of the group and international experience in the field of management and optimization of water networks. And I am glad that the Republic of Uzbekistan and its President Shavkat Mirziyoyev have chosen our company as a partner to modernize the system of access to quality water.
I have to say that SUEZ is determined to support the creation of a successful showcase in Uzbekistan in order to make it as its Central Asia regional headquarters and prepare the ground for further large-scale investment and Public-Private Partnership projects. Our Tashkent project will be a pilot to adapt Uzbek water sector for larger PPP projects and prepare it for the future growth and development of the country.
– Do you have other projects in the field of water in Uzbekistan?
– Absolutely, I am glad to say that our first project with the Samarkand Region Hokimyat has officially been launched at the occasion of the visit of French Secretary of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne in Uzbekistan last April 2019. This a very crucial and strategic project for the country. In mid-2022 the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit will be held in the city of Samarkand. Accompanying this prestigious event, a significant activities program will be put in place to promote the city on an international scale and to upgrade existing infrastructure such as road and water utilities. SUEZ has been selected by Uzbek authorities to prepare this ambitious investment plan and to conduct it until completion in January 2022. The first phase of feasibility study is coming to an end and the second phase of construction works will start in the next weeks.
– SUEZ company is also engaged in complex solutions related to waste treatment. Uzbekistan is also planning to reform the existing waste management system. Are there any plans to cooperate in this area?
– Yes, a cooperation with SUEZ on the processing of household, industrial and construction waste is expected in the future. It should be noted that in Uzbekistan there are 186 landfills with 33.4 million tons of garbage. According to the forecasts of experts in this field, the annual accumulated volume of municipal solid waste in the country by 2030 will reach about 7 million tons. If appropriate measures are not taken, the number of landfills will double. The Uzbek and French parties have already agreed to consider the possibility of launching specific joint projects for the extraction of energy from waste.
– Is it difficult to find a common language with Uzbek specialists? How do you assess their capabilities?
– Uzbekistan has very good engineers, we met with them, I can say that they are very high-level professionals. But they stayed away from the revolution in this field of technology. For instance in Tashkent: with limited means and resources, SUVSOZ has managed to ensure full service and even achieved in the last years some significant improvement, However, and as result of insufficient implementation of new technologies and overall modernization, Tashkent water systems — built in the 1960’s — are slowly degrading and are now about to reach their limit. A serious risk exists regarding the capacity of the current system to cope with needs in the short-term and ensure 24/7 service coverage of additional consumption demand. As the speed of Tashkent growth accelerates, SUVSOZ will face huge challenges in the next years and a decisive period is ahead. I think together we can implement very good projects, accompanying them in the field and implementing most up-to-date technologies.
Gabriel Miguez, Project Manager of SUEZ for International Development, made a presentation during which he told the following:
“The purpose of the company is defined as the provision of advanced technologies to meet the growing needs of the world’s population in water, to overcome the problem of freshwater scarcity, to improve environmental protection and compliance with regulatory requirements.
One and a half century history of the company is defined by practical experience and implemented innovations. Throughout its existence, SUEZ has accompanied all the great technological revolutions in the service of humanity. Starting with the construction of the SUEZ Canal and ending with the progress in the development of health and hygiene, urbanization and careful attitude to resources, the technology and development of the company serve to solve the problems of population growth and industrial development.
Let’s turn to the origins of the company’s history. The beginning was the construction of the SUEZ Canal, which would allow water transport to pass in both directions between Europe and Asia without skirting Africa. In 1858, since the opening of the Canal, a revolution took place – the SUEZ Canal had an immediate and invaluable impact on the development of the world trade. This event also marked the beginning of SUEZ’s success and the birth of its name as a symbol of courage, ambition and innovation.
The industrial and trade revolutions have led to the rapid development of cities. In order to protect human health and hygiene, water and sanitation systems have become necessary to ensure that people have access to drinking water and wastewater treatment, even at long distances from each other. It was then, in the 1880s, the modern waste collection system was invented. After the end of the World War II, in 1945, with the growth of large cities and suburbs, the needs of residents increased, which necessitated a steady supply of clean water to meet the growing needs, as well as the collection and processing of growing amounts of waste.
At the dawn of the XXI century a new chapter in the history of the company began with the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro. At that time, the world leaders adopted sustainable development as a priority task. The environmental protection has become an integral part of achieving development. Nations have cooperated in a spirit of global partnership to preserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem.
That is why the mission of SUEZ was chosen to develop and implement innovative solutions to four main challenges in the field of resources: access to resources, their protection, optimization of use and production of new ones. This is how the company helps to provide the resources necessary for the future of all mankind.
The issue of access to resources, especially quality drinking water, is vital. A large part of the world’s population still lacks access to basic water services, including clean drinking water and sanitation. The United Nations estimates that 783 million people do not have access to clean water. Nearly 2.5 billion of the world’s population do not have access to adequate sanitation, and 6 to 8 million people die each year from water-related disasters and diseases. Safe, sufficient and well-managed freshwater resources are crucial for preservation of the basic livelihoods of the population, as well as the economic and political stability of countries.
For example, if there is less than 600 m3 of water per capita per year, then Algeria is considered one of the poorest countries in the field of water resources. With the establishment of the Algerian water supply and sanitation facility in 2006 as part of a public-private partnership with SUEZ, the Algerians are now using water services 24 hours a day, and the wastewater treatment system is recognized as one of the best.
The project implemented in Masdar, UAE is also representative. This region is known for its intense water shortage. Now the residents of Masdar have permanent access to quality drinking water. The SUEZ seawater desalination pilot complex installed here based on reverse osmosis, operates on renewable energy sources and has very little impact on the environment. The plant produces 100 m3 of drinking water per day and consumes less than 3.6 W/m3 of electricity.
Morocco has developed and launched a pollution control system on the East coast of Greater Casablanca. The system can purify 100% of urban wastewater and intercept its discharge along the coast. Protecting the coastline, this project is part of the program for the restoration of the city on the East coast, which includes the repair and modernization of the waterfront and improving the living conditions of local residents.
The plant built in 2009 in China purifies wastewater for more than 1 million residents of Chongqing. The state-of-the-art technology INNODRY®2E processes all the sludge produced – up to 240 tons per day – dries it and turns it into an alternative fuel, which then provides the plant with electricity.
In Lebanon, in the city of Sidon, Suez helped to eliminate the mountain of garbage that had formed in 30 years in the open air. In partnership with JCC and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, the project created facilities for waste storage, recovery and recycling, as well as a new public park. By rehabilitating what locals called the “Mountain of Shame”, the SUEZ technology has protected the coastline and the health of local residents.
The technology SUEZ Influx® system is used for continuous observation of weather, which helps cities anticipate periods of rain. SUEZ adapts rainwater storage tanks in real time to prevent overflows that are a source of pollution and flooding. After collecting rainwater, it is purified and can be reused for collective purposes such as water parks and gardens.
Equally important is the task of optimizing the collection and disposal of waste so that after processing they can become a source of new resources. Intelligent technologies developed by SUEZ allow to track the fate of waste in every household. Residents are billed according to the amount of waste they produce. This pricing system encourages households to better sort waste and thus contributes to the use of the potential to produce new resources.
Protecting natural resources, the company guarantees the preservation of the environment and resources in the future by reducing the impact of urban and industrial activities on the environment. This includes the recycling of waste into energy, the reduction of CO2 emissions, the decontamination of soil and the promotion of biological diversity. The company believes that technological innovations in the field of resources are circular: this is dictated by the need to convert sea water into drinking water, waste – into renewable energy or secondary raw materials.
Among SUEZ’ accomplishments is reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 10.1 million tons, 5.1 billion m3 of biologically treated wastewater, 3,6 million tons of treated hazardous waste, 21 million tons of waste treated for reuse, 4.4 million tons of secondary raw materials returned to the market. More than 10 million people in the world receive drinking water from desalinated sea water thanks to SUEZ. Real-time water supply and sanitation management, intelligent collection systems, reverse logistics, optimization of energy consumption in factories – all these solutions provide significant economic and environmental savings. SUEZ is a leader in the European market, where 27,495 km of remotely controlled networks, 4.1 million units of smart water meters, 10 thousand intelligent volume sensors in garbage containers are implemented. These products are already actively used in many countries of the world, including China, Morocco, Singapore and Chile.
After the creation of a new business unit of SUEZ “Water Technologies and Solutions”, the company announced the conclusion of several contracts and the launch of new product lines based on innovative technologies for industrial water treatment. SUEZ has provided advanced technology to major players such as BP and LG&E to help them improve their environmental performance, meet their business needs and comply with regulatory requirements. By treating biogas from sludge on an industrial scale and turning it into biomethane, local sustainable low-carbon renewable energy channels have been established. Examples of such use of waste and emissions can be found in the cities of France – Strasbourg, Valenton, Annecy and Angers, where treatment plants produce gas that is injected into the natural gas network or converted into fuel for heavy trucks.
In the laboratory Plast’lab® the recycled plastic is manufactured through the unique process. It is the equivalent of first-class plastic and it is even more compliant with industry requirements (impact resistance, heat resistance, etc.). In addition, the use of recycled plastic reduces energy consumption compared to the production of primary plastic.
In conclusion, it should be noted that it is impossible not to realize that the pressure on fresh water resources is increasing in our country literally every minute due to the ever-increasing number of people, the growing needs of agriculture and other industries, as well as the growth of energy consumption and environmental pollution. Climate change is becoming not only a global threat, but also a real problem for Uzbekistan – without “smart” management, we will face an acute shortage of water and energy.
Innovative technologies have the potential to improve the sustainability, efficiency and availability of water resources. However, in the context of Uzbekistan, both the experience of innovative companies and the participation of the state are necessary to ensure proper management of these technologies in order to protect water resources, as well as to ensure sustainable development and equitable distribution of benefits associated with water resources. With many years of experience, SUEZ offers cutting-edge technologies in the water management and water conservation industry, adapted to local operating conditions and requirements. The introduction of innovative digital and engineering solutions of foreign companies in the infrastructure will improve the efficiency of municipal management and make the regions and cities of Uzbekistan more comfortable and attractive for life.