The arc which in the south goes from Spain to Turkey includes countries with a low, or very low rainfall and which, consequently have a tradition of using water very well, of saving it and of reusing it. This factor has led to the permanent development of new technologies and solutions (the innovation is almost always aimed at meeting needs). The large companies linked to the water sector therefore come from the Mediterranean world. We can talk about a Mediterranean culture of water and about a powerful industry which, starting from this area, is present globally. In the last 150 years, driven by the industrial revolution, the countries from the northern Mediterranean have developed the most advanced technology and management methods.
Aqualogy is a clear example of a leading company in the world which moreover has an important presence in the Mediterranean area (Spain, North Africa and Turkey). Aqualogy has been one of the main players in the process of transferring knowledge, technology and experience in service management between the countries of the north and the south. These projects include delegated management in Oran (Algeria), which in just 6 years has made it possible to guarantee the supply of drinking water to almost two million people 24 hours a day and to train a considerable number of Algerian managers to ensure the long-term sustainability of the progress achieved. One of the keys to Aqualogy’s success was the ability to adapt and to respect the local context.
We now need to begin to forget the north–south concept in the sense of a developed north and an underdeveloped south. The economy in the northern countries is stagnating and it will be difficult to achieve high levels of growth in the short and medium term, while an increasingly significant part of the southern countries has high growth rates and a young population. We can foresee the progressive consolidation of a stable middle class which will permit sustained economic growth and, therefore, demand for high-quality, sustainable and environment-friendly water and wastewater services. This represents a wide range of new opportunities for Aqualogy, which necessarily come from the joint work of the countries from the north and those from the south, first on projects in the countries experiencing growth from the Mediterranean basin itself (Aqualogy is carrying out consultancy projects in Algeria, in a consortium with local companies) and then involving other countries in the global sphere. Thus, for example, Moroccan companies are already beginning the first water and wastewater and irrigation projects in sub-Saharan countries.
The development of the countries from the Mediterranean south and the associated investments have allowed the water industry created in the north to become a Mediterranean industry which, with its 450 million inhabitants, is capable of successfully competing on the global scenario. China, for example, has already begun a strong penetration in Africa in the water sector.
The key is to unite our interests and objectives so as to be much more competitive globally. More than a trend, this is a need. The companies which surround the Mediterranean need each other so that the common past that they share can open up the doors to the future.