Guayaquil, a canton of clean water. However, it has not been an easy or short road. It has taken alliances between public and private enterprises to ultimately fulfill a very old aspiration: to see water flow from the taps of every household in Guayaquil. Homes no longer have to put up with water connections of only a few hours a day, or supplies in bottles and jugs.
The story is a business adventure. In 1994, the law creating the Central Company for Water and Sewerage in Guayaquil (ECAPAG) came into force. This public organization served the citizens of Guayaquil until August 2004 in an area of utmost importance, namely the sanitary treatment of potable and rain water. In August 2004, drinking water, sewerage and rainwater drainage systems finally began operating thanks to the efforts of the officially commissioned firm Interagua
Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Interagua is comprised of various prestigious Ecuadorian and foreign companies with extensive experience in concessions, particularly in drinking water and basic sanitation.
An important contribution Interagua makes in Guayaquil is the transfer of technology and knowledge in all the processes that make up the complete water cycle: collection, treatment, distribution, sales management, wastewater collection both at a domestic and trunk level, and finally the treatment of this wastewater before its appropriate disposal.
ECAPAG, having been awarded the concession to provide these services, as of August 2001 was no longer the operating company, as it became the public controller and regulator of concessions.
At the beginning of November 2012, EMAPAG-EP (Municipal Potable Water and Sewerage Company of Guayaquil) was created, which assumed the functions, contracts and obligations of ECAPAG. Pursuant to the COOTAD Act (Organic Code of Autonomous and Decentralized Territorial Organization), the new public body took on the roles exercised until November 1 by ECAPAG based on the contract signed with Interagua in 2001.
EMAPAG-EP ultimately assumed all roles that were previous undertaken by ECAPAG. This also entailed the creation more jobs by expanding infrastructure and sanitation.
|Since early January, running water and the sewerage system now reaches the entire Guayaquil municipality|
ECAPAG, meanwhile, became responsible for everything connected to concessions, and the management of services undertaken by the private sector, maintaining, as a public company, the regulation and control of planning those services. Something, in short, that is part of what contends José Luis Santos Garcia, General Manager of EMAPAG-EP, when he says that Guayaquil is the “economic capital” of Ecuador.
Every day more and more families and companies in Guayaquil are connected to the potable water and sewerage systems operated by Interagua, a company that continues to work continuously to improve quality of service.
Interagua is the leading utility in Ecuador. Among its main quality-related challenges is maintaining its triple certification – ISO 9001 for quality, OHSAS 18001 for Occupational Health and Safety, and ISO 14001 Environmental Management – which demonstrates the constant concern of this company for continuous improvement. Its efforts are also evidenced by it being able to certify, recertify and accredit the quality of its laboratories to ISO 17025 standard, which becomes an added value for the security of the user in terms of quality in the provision of services.
Highly concerned about their responsibility to society, Interagua has subscribed to important commitments within the UN Global Compact and works constantly in favor of access to basic necessities for those sectors considered highly vulnerable in various sectors of the planet.
Interagua channeled its efforts on improving the living standards of Guayaquil’s residents through the provision and expansion of drinking water services and construction and/or operation of sewerage systems and drains.
All this adds to the respect for the environment and the constant improvement of relations with the community, integrating this in various actions concerning people’s welfare, quality of life and environment.
A wealth generating project
In 2001 the concession contract was signed. In 1994 ECAPAG was created in order to move toward the concession of services. At that time, water coverage was 33%, with pressure and continuity 24 hours a day, and 50% with regard to sewerage. In 2011 the company had 95% of Guayaquil covered. That year, eight contracts were signed, which led to 100% drinking water coverage in the city from December.
Guayaquil could wait no longer. The associated companies were intended to transform the city. This infrastructure was needed to give quality of life to its citizens.
ECAPAG grants access to the use and enjoyment of the areas, facilities and equipment, which are and remain the property of ECAPAG. It requires the concessionaire, at their own commercial risk, to be responsible for the operation, maintenance and management of services and investors.
The result is visible: Guayaquil has become a role model. It is the only city in all of Ecuador where drinking water and sanitation have a control and regulation body.
Interagua knew from the first moment that to root the project they had to deal with training and building the capacity of local people. The result is immediate: the work done by private companies in Guayaquil generates value that is transmitted directly to the residents of the city through the creation of direct and indirect employment.
Interagua has worked hand in hand with the local government and ECAPAG. Together they agree on what action is needed and prioritize the most important investments so that they are first allocated to the neediest sectors. Improving the water management of a city like Guayaquil generates a major impact on the quality of life of he whole population.
Finally, as they receive continuous service 24 hours a day, with the right pressure, and with unbeatable water, their quality of life is improving. Bringing water to new users and maintaining service to those that were already connected is having a very positive impact on the health of the population.
To date, Interagua intends to maintain its leadership in the provision of sewerage and basic sanitation in Guayaquil and the rest of the country. There are public companies that are doing this well in Quito and Cuenca, but in the companies that have made the supply in Guayaquil possible, the pride in maintaining it to higher standards than other cities in the country is perceptible.
Proactiva Medio Ambiente, sin duda, un gran ejemplo de inversión Española que esta trayendo grandes beneficios a los ciudadanos de Guayaquil..