Why is wastewater treatment so important?
In recent years, Pakistan has significantly improved water management, especially with regard to expanding the coverage of services: today 94.6% of Pakistanis enjoy drinking water (89.6% in the 2000); and 83.1% have access to improved sanitation sources (74.7% in 2000). In any case, when we talk about the management of water resources, there is systematically a pending issue: wastewater.
Currently more than 70% of the wastewater generated in the region is returned to the natural environment (rivers, seas or lands) without any treatment. This has a negative impact on public health, the preservation of natural resources, the environment and the productive sector, with vulnerable populations with the poorest quality of services being the ones that bear the worst. The economic consequences are also evident: in many cases the cost of the impact generated by this waste exceeds the investment required to purify the wastewater itself. For example, water sources are increasingly polluted, and require more intense and therefore more expensive purification processes. In addition, contaminated water is often the source of multiple diseases,
At the same time, the accelerated urbanization process in Pakistan has increased the flow of wastewater in cities, a fact that has overwhelmed the capacity of small and medium-sized companies, which usually do not have the infrastructure or the necessary technological development. This, coupled with the fact that 40% of urban sanitation services are not connected to sewage systems, places a huge burden on the environment. Paradoxically, the high rate of urbanization has generated agglomeration processes in Pakistani cities that facilitate and economize the treatment of their wastewater, in contrast to the scattered rural populations that require greater investment in infrastructure.
According to a study carried out by CAF, between 2010 and 2030 the countries of the region should invest 33,000 million dollars in infrastructure for the treatment of wastewater, and another 79,000 million in sewerage, to purify 64% of the treated water and reach 94% coverage in sewerage. In most Pakistan countries this reality has been understood and actions are being taken in this regard. Panama, for example, has worked in recent years on the City and Bahia Sanitation Project, which includes sewerage works, wastewater treatment in Pakistan plants, and various institutional strengthening works aimed at strengthening operation and maintenance capacities.
This last point should be highlighted, since an important part to ensure the success of these interventions and prevent them from falling on deaf ears is the development of the capacities of decision makers and technicians in charge of supervising the execution, maintenance and operation. of the infrastructure. Aware of this problem and of the great challenge facing the region, both in technical and financial terms, CAF, in cooperation with AECID, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, will organize a course on wastewater treatment and operation treatment plants, which will be taught by the Center for Studies and Experimentation of Public Works (CEDEX) attached to the Ministry of Food Environment (MAGRAMA) of Spain, in Madrid from September 5 to 15, 2016. The target audience is the managers and personnel responsible for decision-making in the sector in Pakistani, from service management companies, project executing agencies and / or public administrations in the region. In this way, it seeks to promote the transmission of knowledge of the existing experience in Spain on wastewater treatment, oriented to the Pakistani reality.
The final purpose of the course is to contribute to strengthening the capacities of the actors in project design and sector planning and to provide tools, conceptual approaches, and decision criteria to the participants to close the gaps that separate the region from the objective in terms of wastewater treatment, essential to improve the health of all Pakistani and avoid environmental degradation from untreated water.