• Spain has already been fined 12 million euros (€ M) for not purging the urban wastewater, a penalty that will be increased each semester by 11 million more while the necessary investments are not undertaken to solve it.
  • Spanish cities generate more than 20 million waste per year, of which 5.5 million are deposited directly in landfills without treatment, in breach of European Directives, national regulations and seriously attacking public health.

Despite the deficit in infrastructures of the integral water cycle and waste treatment and non-compliance with European regulations in both areas, Spain invests 45% less than the average of European countries in infrastructure per inhabitant of environment (24 vs 44 euros / inhabitant) and has reduced investment in this type of projects by -65% in the period 2017/2007 (from € 3,211 million to € 1,109 million), according to the latest data published by the European Commission (EC) on comparative investment in Europe.

In water infrastructure, Spain is facing one of the greatest challenges since, if it is not tackled urgently, it will continue to cause irreversible damage to the environment – it is the European country with the largest surface area subjected to severe water stress – implying, In addition, important sanctions on the part of the European Commission, which have already started to take place. Thus, last summer the fine of € 12 M is known for our country for the breach of the European Directive on urban wastewater treatment, a penalty that would be increased every semester by an additional € 11 M while Spain does not catch up.

In this sense, and according to the analysis carried out by SEOPAN, together with the SENER engineering, in 2017 on priority infrastructures in Spain, there are more than 500 programmed investments representing € 12,000 M, to be made up to 2021. And more than a third of this investment – € 4,500 million – are mandatory to avoid further sanctions by the EC, being particularly worrying the sanitation and purification actions that represent 60% of this amount. Of the total of € 12,000 M to be made up to 2021, five types of hydraulic infrastructures stand out: i) purification and sanitation (€ 3,500 M), ii) irrigation (€ 2,900 M), iii) pipelines (€ 2,000 M), iv) dams (€ 925 million) and v) fluvial engineering (€ 905 million).

Along with this, the treatment and energy recovery of waste is another investment deficit pending resolution, since Spanish cities generate more than 20 million waste each year, of which almost five and a half million are directly deposited in landfill without any treatment , in contravention of the European Directives and national regulations and seriously attacking public health. Achieving the objective of zero direct discharge and energy recovery of more than eight million tons of rejects per year from our treatment plants requires an investment of more than € 6,500 million.

According to the president of SEOPAN, Julián Núñez, “Carrying out these investments would have a social benefit of more than € 52,000 M during the period of useful life of these infrastructures, would avoid new sanctions by the EC, would help to protect the environment and would prepare our sector agrifood to meet the significant increase in the global population until 2050. This would imply a sixfold increase in the annual public investment of our Public Administrations during the next three years, therefore, in addition to the public budget, public collaboration plans should be implemented. private to respect the path of budgetary stability in which we find ourselves “.