Hidralia, an environmental company dedicated to the management of the integral water cycle, has achieved carbon neutrality throughout Andalusia. This has been possible thanks to the reduction of its emissions and to participate in projects to offset those that it is impossible to reduce. The company, which manages the integral water cycle in various municipalities on the Costa del Sol, such as Marbella, Estepona, Manilva, Rincón de la Victoria and Algarrobo, as well as Torremolinos and Benahavís, through its affiliated companies, Aguas de Torremolinos and Aguas de Benahavís, has carried out an important work and effort in all its facilities to calculate, reduce and offset its emissions and maintains its firm commitment to the circular economy that has led it to achieve carbon neutrality in 2019.
In this way, the company, a benchmark in the fight against climate change, continues its firm commitment to the circular economy and energy self-sufficiency, which was recognized last year by the Junta de Andalucía with the Andalusia Award for the Environment in the Climate Change modality and with the Andalucía + Social Award for best practices linked to the SDGs.
Hidralia has been working for years to reduce its carbon footprint and achieve the goal of Zero Emissions. For this, it has been working on several lines, such as energy and water efficiency, to reduce energy consumption in processes directly related to its activity; the generation of green energy that leads to self-sufficiency; or the purchase of green energy from renewable or sustainable sources that it is not capable of producing.
In addition, the company maintains a firm commitment to the circular economy, having changed the paradigm in the wastewater treatment model, and promoting the circular biofactory model in all its wastewater treatment plants. This means zero energy consumption, zero waste and 100% reuse of treated water.
Neutrality as a bet for the future
In order to neutralize its carbon footprint, the first thing the company has had to do is get to know it, once analyzed it has taken different measures to be able to reduce it even more and, finally, it has offset those emissions that it has not been able to avoid.
Hidralia has calculated and registered its carbon footprint for 2017, 2018 and 2019 in the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITERD). It has been a project that began more than a decade ago and that has culminated with the neutralization of its carbon footprint in 2019; of scope 1 and 2. This refers to its direct emissions, which come mainly from the processes related to its activity and the consumption of its fleet of vehicles, and indirect ones, produced by the consumption of electrical energy.
Emasagra, the company in which Hidralia works together with the Granada City Council, already did so last year and now the rest of the companies in which Hidralia participates have achieved it. Granada also has the triple seal “Calculo + Reduzco + Compensnso”, awarded by the Spanish Office for Climate Change (OECC) of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITERD).
The company has taken the first steps to obtain the triple seal “I calculate + I reduce + I compensate”. For this reason, it has presented its carbon footprint in the MITERD registry, which has culminated in the achievement of the “Calculo” seal, for knowing and reducing its footprint as much as possible from the years 2017 to 2019.
After this commitment, the next step is to offset those emissions that Hidralia cannot avoid. For this, the company collaborates in two projects: one in Spain, for reforestation, and another in Brazil, the latter sponsored by the United Nations Organization related to the production of hydroelectric energy.
Thanks to this work, it has also applied for the “Compensated” stamp for 2019. Furthermore, due to the progressive reduction of its footprint since 2017, it hopes to also achieve the last stamp, “Reduzco”, at the end of this year, when it registers its footprint of the year. 2020, since it is necessary for its achievement, to calculate and reduce the footprint for four years in a row.
It should be noted that the Hidralia foundation, the Aquae Foundation, has also achieved the triple seal ‘Calculo + Reduzco + Compenso’, thus being the only foundation in Spain to have this year with the triple distinctive, which reflects that the commitment to sustainable development is well rooted in its strategy as a group.
Energy efficiency, key to neutrality
Energy efficiency is one of the fundamental pillars on which Hidralia has based its strategy to achieve carbon neutrality. In this way, only in its operations located on the Costa del Sol, including the two joint ventures Aguas de Torremolinos and Aguas de Benahavís, has the company managed to reduce the emission of 1,420 equivalent tons of CO2 in the last three years.
To do this, it has opted for the generation of green energy in order to achieve energy self-sufficiency. Thus, throughout Andalusia, including its joint ventures, it has a total green energy generation capacity at its facilities of 13 GWh / year. In the last year, despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was able to generate 8 gigawatt-hours (GWh). Or what is the same, the energy with which some 2,000 homes are supplied annually. This represents around 13.5% of the energy consumption of the company in Andalusia.
The latest actions carried out by the company have made it possible to expand the green energy production capacity by 500 MWh / year. Here, the Torremolinos Photovoltaic Solar Park stands out, which provides the vast majority of this figure.
In addition, the company has made an effort to reduce its emissions through measures that would lead to savings in energy consumption. Thus, since 2017, Hidralia has achieved a total reduction in consumption equivalent to more than 7.4 GWh / year. In other words, the emission of more than 2,300 TCO2eq / year has been avoided. During 2020, the savings have been the equivalent of a consumption of 352 MWh / year only on the Costa del Sol; or what is the same, the non-emission of 109 TCO2eq / year.
Figures that it has been able to achieve, mainly thanks to concrete measures for the renovation of its facilities. Among them, the implementation of intelligent aeration control systems in treatment plants; the replacement of pumping equipment with more modern and efficient ones; and changes of lighting by LED systems, with a much lower consumption.
In addition, in its commitment to sustainable mobility, Hidralia, together with its investee companies, has 76 hybrid vehicles (5 more than in 2020) and 55 electric vehicles (5 more than in 2020). Of these, 33 hybrids circulate on the Costa del Sol: 20 in their direct farms, 10 in Torremolinos and 3 in Benahavís; It also has 31 electricity in the area: 8 in Torremolinos, 2 in Benahavís and the remaining 21 in Hidralia. A fleet that will continue to renew this year and those to come, as the company’s medium-term objective is for 100% of its vehicles to be sustainable.
A benchmark in the fight against climate change
An example of the company’s commitment to the environment and the fight against climate change is the reforestation project carried out in Manilva, together with the Aquae Foundation and the town council, and which will allow the recovery of more than 20,000 m2 of vegetation in the natural area of ​​El Calvario.
This reforestation includes the planting of 800 trees of seven native species. Specifically, 240 examples of Aleppo pine will be planted, one of the species that absorbs the most CO2; 160 holm oak, 120 almond tree, 80 cypress and wild olive tree, respectively, 40 cork oak and the same number of carob trees. In total, this new forest is expected to have the capacity to absorb 80 tons of CO2 over the next three decades.
Likewise, Hidralia has been the main promoter of the Andalusian Network against Climate Change (REDAC), which it manages together with the Hidralia + UGR Chair, a project for which the company was recognized last year by the Andalusian Government with the Andalusia Award of the Environment in the Climate Change modality and with the Andalucía + Social Award for best practices linked to the SDGs.
Today REDAC has almost 600 member entities and all of them can calculate their carbon footprint for free, as well as exchange experiences, value their good practices and collect shared information on mitigation and adaptation to climate change while creating business and institutional alliances and public-private. The objective of the network is to promote sustainability and communication among all its members.
Finally, Hidralia, together with its investee company Aguas de Torremolinos, is voluntarily adhered to the Andalusian Emissions Compensation System (SACE) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of the Junta de Andalucía, and participates with the same presenting the calculation of its carbon footprint, as well as an action plan to reduce its emissions.

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