IURC develops city-to-city cooperation opening the door to a 50 million USD public-private partnership between Los Cabos, Mexico and Spanish private investment

Categorized as News from IURC

As a result of the cooperation between the cities of Los Cabos, Mexico, and Almería, Spain, within the framework of the IURC 1st phase (IUC ), the contract for the new Los Cabos’ water supply network was awarded to the Spanish company Aqualia.

The Los Cabos- Almería partnership through the IUC (1st phase of IURC) programme made possible the introduction of Aqualia to city officials in charge of one of the most important Mexican touristic destinations. The recently awarded project with an estimated value of 50 million, includes the modernization, equipment, operation, and maintenance of the Los Cabos’ water infrastructure for the next ten years developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) between Aqualia and the Municipal Drinking Water System Agency of Los Cabos (OOMSAPAS Los Cabos). The meetings organized by Almería with the Los Cabos delegates during their visit and the subsequent contacts via online meetings with OOMSAPAS established throughout the IUC programme have undoubtedly been invaluable for achieving such an important milestone in the cooperation between cities.

Los Cabos, Mexico, and Almería, Spain, started their cooperation in 2019 as part of the European Union’s International Urban Cooperation programme focusing on climate adaptation, urban mobility, circular economy, and inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Their participation in the programme allowed them to recognize similar challenges as well as identify solutions together.

Los Cabos and Almería are coastal cities that suffer from a lack of freshwater sources. Their geographical context has pushed them to search for sustainable water management options that take advantage of their location while creating more efficient distribution processes to reduce costs for the city and its residents.

During the visit from Los Cabos to Almería, the Mexican delegates learned that many of the water challenges they are currently facing were solved by Almería through a PPP with Aqualia, who leads the management of its integral water cycle. This PPP has become a mechanism for Almería to improve potable water quality, conservation, and efficient distribution. The critical balance between the City of Almería regulating the pricing and management of water and that of the Spanish company working to be profitable has resulted in the continuous improvement of the system. Aqualia has created innovative solutions that benefit residents, such as new ways to pay for the service, text messaging to inform households about planned work, and a system that will transform sewage water into gas to fuel city vehicles. After the learning exchange, Los Cabos and Almería agreed to include water cycle management as a priority in their Urban Cooperation Plan (UCAP), a planning tool that determines the cooperation roadmap between the cities.

This partnership, which was made possible thanks to the support of the IUC’s North American team, is a clear example of the European Union’s IURC Programme’s accomplished objectives, adding value and improving people’s quality of life by exchanging best practices and quadruple helix collaborations. In the long term, this results in social development and positive environmental and economic impact.

Learn more about the International Urban and Regional Cooperation Programme at www.iurc.eu.