2030 WRG started its work in São Paulo in 2017 when it signed an MoU with the former State Secretariat of Water Resources and Sanitation. This MoU formally established a partnership to promote dialogue, collaboration, and private sector participation on water resources management and water security in the State. This secretariat was further restructured by the new State Government (2019-2022) into the State Secretariat for Infrastructure and Environment (SIMA), which includes sub-secretariats for the environment and for infrastructure (water resources and sanitation affairs), and the MoU terms keep fully operational.
Brazil, and especially the State of São Paulo, count on a very structured and institutionalized framework for water and environmental management, which includes public secretariats, agencies, and multi-stakeholder platforms such as councils and river basin committees. 2030 WRG São Paulo convenes key institutional representatives of these entities, as well as key actors of the private sector and of civil society organizations, to coordinate cross-sector discussions and form working groups to develop and implement strategic actions – studies, plans, projects, programs, regulations, and public-private enterprises – to help improve water quality and water security in the state.
State regulation on water reuse for urban purposes modernized
In 2017, we convened public and private sanitation companies to propose changes to the state regulation on water reuse for urban purposes, in face of the inadequacy of some technical and monitoring requirements considered by sanitation concessionaires as obstacles to investments in direct reuse of treated domestic wastewater. Our advocacy with the state environmental and health regulatory agencies guaranteed the analysis and the acceptance of these suggestions, which has resulted in the issuing of a new regulation in February 2020. Having had its goal accomplished, this working group was de-mobilized.
Business case for industrial reuse of treated wastewater
In 2018, together with the State Secretariat for Water Resources, we organized an international seminar on industrial treated wastewater reuse. We wrote an article setting out the business case for treating and reusing effluents from public wastewater treatment plants to reduce demand and ensure future water supply for industrial operations in São Paulo State. It was published in the prominent business journal, Jornal Valor Econômico, in April 2019. You can find a more extensive article on the topic for download here.
Regional studies on industrial reuse of effluents from public wastewater treatment plants
During Fiscal Year 2019, we worked with the Basin Committee and Agency for the Piracicaba, Capivari, and Jundiaí rivers (PCJ) discussing the difficulties and potentialities for industrial reuse of effluents from public wastewater treatment plants, as a potential investment to mitigate the competition for raw water abstraction. We developed detailed Terms of Reference for a regional study on direct industrial reuse, which was accepted and further adjusted by the PCJ Committee and Agency. The assessment will be contracted by the PCJ Agency, and its elaboration will be supervised by the Committee’s Chamber for Water Use and Conservation in Industry, a PCJ Committee chamber in which 2030 WRG participates to follow up on the project.
In 2020, we also started negotiations with sanitation concessionaires interested in investing in an inter-municipal wastewater reuse enterprise in the Metropolitan Region of Campinas. This initiative was well succeeded, and we are now supporting the contracting of consultants to elaborate project feasibility studies, as well as a strategic assessment to evaluate the impact of water scarcity on regional development.
Performance optimization of wastewater treatment plants
In 2019, 2030 WRG and SABESP, the São Paulo state sanitation utility, organized and implemented the first phase of the Program for Performance Optimization of the Wastewater Treatment Plants of the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo (RMSP). This program consists of a complete audit program to be implemented in 4 main treatment plants in the RMSP, to identify operational bottlenecks and provide recommendations to expand their treatment capacities and improve the quality of their final effluents.
The optimization concept means maximizing the use of the existing infrastructure and implementing operational and management procedures to increase efficiency with the minimum CaPex and OpEx and at the same time postponing the need for more expensive investments in tertiary treatment technologies or in heavy expansion works. Maximizing the use of the infrastructure already installed and reducing the total investment necessary to gain efficiency are the first steps to prepare these facilities to receive further investments in circular economy technologies.
SABESP has been acting very pro-actively and immediately implementing preliminary recommendations that already allowed to improve significantly the efficiency of these plants, especially the Barueri wastewater treatment plant, one of the largest treatment facilities in LAC. The second phase of the program started in May 2020. Historical operational data of the 4 plants were analyzed and the facilities are under preparations for field tests, including the installation of proper instrumentation to perform on-line monitoring of technical parameters, as well as the contracting of certified laboratories to perform analysis of sewage samples. The program is being now implemented directly by SABESP Metropolitan Board’s Sewage Superintendence with the support of the expertise of an international specialist team that was brought by 2030 WRG to assist the first phase of the program. An article was published in the World Bank blog, presenting the initial steps of this program.
Discussions to raise awareness among key stakeholders on water and sanitation challenges
2030 WRG’s experience in Brazil in addressing main São Paulo’s water and sanitation challenges and promoting circular economy solutions has been shared and discussed in several international fora and with key partners, such as the 2020 Stockholm Water Week at Home, which was organized in partnership with the Global Pact in Brazil, and the International Webinar on Sewage Network Management, which brought experiences from Israel and Portugal and technology solutions currently available for sewage network monitoring.
The workstreams will continue supporting the development of projects by convening various stakeholder consultations and workshops on a factual basis.
The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) is a public, private, civil society partnership that supports country-level collaboration designed to unite diverse groups with a common interest in the sustainable management of water resources.