7 districts and 4 macro-areas of investment: This is how Sorical’s management of the integrated water service changes

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By John

Seven regional districts, 4 investment areas, extensive digitalisation of the management and control phases of the Calabrian water system: this is the strategy implemented by the management of Sorical to achieve efficient management of the entire Calabrian water service in a few years.

In Catanzaro, organized by Sorical and Energia Media, a first meeting was held in the presence of representatives of the Ministry for the Environment and Energy Security, bodies such as Enea and Cursa, national utilities such as Acquedotto Pugliese, A2A, Gruppo Hera and Water Alliance Lombardy; as well as numerous technological companies that during the Catanzaro works provided the state of the art of the sector with regards to innovation and good practices. Also at the table are the Calabria Region, Arrical, the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security and Arera, the national service regulation authority. The initiative is part of a broader project for the establishment of a permanent laboratory in Calabria capable of bringing the highest possible level of innovation to the water sector between now and 2026; with a direct bridge to the relationship with energy and the environment, also to respond to the possibility of accessing public and private funding, including the PNRR, with adequate planning.

“Leaving last in Italy allows us to access new technologies, already tested by large operators and to capitalize on them” – explained the sole director of Sorical Cataldo Calabretta, illustrating the phases that have led in less than two years, after over 30 years of delays, to also have in Calabria an industrial manager entrusted with the management of the integrated water service according to national and community legislation.

The general director of Sorical, Giovanni Paolo Marati, explained the new organizational structure: 7 regional operating districts which will be committed to acquiring the management of the water service of all 404 municipalities in Calabria in a few years, favoring in the initial phase the coastal areas with greater tourism impact for a level of service that must consider increases in summer population in some cases multiplied by 10. Sorical has planned 4 macro areas of investment (engineering, metering, quality of the resource, works to reduce losses and improve the efficiency of networks and systems) with the aim of achieving greater service efficiency and the renewal of service assets in a few years. The Plan envisages a gradual takeover over a three-year period 2024 – 2026 for the first 157 Municipalities and the takeover of the remaining 247 from 2027 onwards.

The interventions will follow a strategic plan, which starts, to integrate and extend them, from the engineering projects underway by the Region with a new project called Water Resource Development System, which goes in the direction of a push digitalization of all phases of the water system Calabrian; it will include the survey of the networks, the water balance through the installation of process and user measurement, hydraulic modeling and districting of the networks, the search for and elimination of losses and an investigation into the quality of the water distributed by the municipalities. The average investment expected per inhabitant for these specific projects lasting approximately 3 years will be 156 euros (on average approximately 52 euros/year), compared to 4 euros/year per inhabitant of current economic management.

This first meeting focused on the Smart Meter topic; after the introduction of electronic meters in the electricity and gas sectors, both for large-scale infrastructure and installation in citizens’ homes, it is clear what revolution we are talking about. In fact, these are devices capable not only of punctually accounting for the water managed but of producing data to be transformed into indispensable information for in-depth knowledge of one’s networks to support strategic and operational decisions. Awareness tools for the manager, in terms of losses for example, but also for users for certainty of the water consumed and to be paid for, and to protect an increasingly less available resource such as water.

The discussion opened by Sorical has therefore given rise to relationships with companies, research centers, regulators and national utilities, on advanced topics that will necessarily evolve the skills of professional figures assigned to the service in Calabria. Talking about Smart Meters also means having an in-depth knowledge of the technologies enabled by telecommunications networks to exchange data, which are also useful for the evolution of a series of services that will increasingly have a positive impact on cities, smaller towns, tourist or mountain areas. Smart Meters are an area that will be increasingly linked to artificial intelligence and virtuous control in terms of cyber security, themes that will be explored in depth by one of the next working groups proposed by Sorical.

The general director of the Territory and Environmental Protection Department of the Calabria Region Salvatore Siviglia, also present with the manager of the integrated water service Pietro Cerchiara, insisted on the convergence of the institutions on the objectives of accelerating processes capable of bringing higher quality services to citizens, also with the aim of making the Calabrian territory increasingly attractive and capable of development in terms of social, economic and environmental sustainability.
The meeting, which was also attended by the director of the integrated water service of the Water Resources and Waste Authority of the Calabria Region (ARRICAL) Pietro Oliverio, closed with the speech of Elena Gallo, Deputy Director of the Investment and Environmental Sustainability Directorate ( DISA) and Head of the Technical Quality, Water Resources and Measurement Planning Unit of ARERA, Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and the Environment. An important presence alongside Sorical and the regional institutions, confirming that development, innovation and regulation can take effect in times suited to the urgency of the topic and consensus among stakeholders, when they are able to proceed in a concerted manner.