Water leaks

[GRI - 103-3], [GRI - 303-1], [GRI - 303-5],

The issue of minimising losses on distribution networks, with all Group Companies in the segment involved, forms the basis for the sustainable management of water. Each year, intensive activity is carried out to identify leaks, with the aim of recovering the greatest possible quantity of water. The process of dividing the network into districts is used to optimise operating pressures and reduce losses, with activities focusing on losses in the most critical districts. With greater control of the individual parts of the network, it is possible to reduce losses, promptly identifying them or picking up on other anomalies.

Overall, Acea Ato 2 has created 759 measurement districts for over 13,000 km of georeferenced network. The activity consisted of surveys, flow and pressure measurements, map production, user analysis and water balancing, creation of measurement stations, installation of shut-off and adjustment elements, mathematical modelling and searches for leaks. The results of efficiency actions were imported into the geo-referenced systems. In addition, 2023 saw optimisation of the quality of process measurements, through verification and calibration of meters installed on sources and drinking water plants, and progress in survey activity and georeferencing of networks. The measures reduced the volume of lost water resources by 2% compared to 2022 (a reduction of about 19% compared to 2019221). In addition, the work to make the service more energy efficient, based on the same scope as 2019, has reduced total leaks to around 38.4%222 (at 38.9% in 2022), with the total leaks for the Rome network also decreasing to 27.8% (at 27.9% in 2022). Data and reductions in losses for 2021-2022 are presented in the Environmental Report and for 2019 in the 2020-2024 Sustainability Plan in The Corporate Identity chapter. In 2023, Acea Ato 5 completed district planning for the networks of 9 new municipalities and improved efficiency in previously established districts to optimise the distribution service. The Company has created 54 new districts covering 405 km of network. Active control of pressures has continued, with the installation of meters, reducers and flow-control valves at strategic points (11 hydro valves installed during the year), with the dual objective of reducing flows into the networks and improving pressure management over 24 hours. Thanks to the measures implemented, leakage volumes decreased from 70.7 million m3 in 2022 to 67.4 million m3 in 2023, reducing the total amount of water entered into the system from 109.8 million m3 to 105.6 million m3, an immediate savings of approximately 4.2 million m3. Losses fell in 2023 to 63.8% (64.3% in 2022).

AdF conducted intensive activity to search for system leaks on its own water networks, making considerable improvements to efficiency thanks to the provision of advanced technology to all operators, and inspecting around 2,000 km of the distribution network in 2023. Particular attention was paid to municipalities with higher water losses. The measures carried out led to reductions in water leaks from 21.9 million m3 in 2022 to 20.8 million m3 in 2023, decreasing water losses to 36.2% in 2023 (37.2% in 2022). During the year in question, Gori continued its leak detection activities. Thanks to the call for "Expressions of Interest on the formulation of Project Proposals under Axis IV" (React - EU)223, and based on a Framework Agreement, the Company pursued the district networking and regulating of pressure regimens and the detection of leaks in the 17 most critical Municipalities from a water leaks’ perspective. In the scope of the tender, leak detection activities were carried out over 1,672 km of the water distribution network, with the installation of 123 pressure control valves and the replacement of around 76 km of damaged pipes. At the same time, Gori conducted conventional systemic leak detection controls and in response to faults, with the help of internal resources, for an additional 1,300 km of water network detected in the entire managed area. This combined action enabled a recovery of water resources estimated at approximately 426 l/s over the entire Water District Zone. After the measures taken, total losses fell from 47.8% in 2022 to 42.9% in 2023, with a 14.1 Mm3 reduction in losses.

Gori also made use of the lnternet of Things (IoT) and advanced sensoring to collect data in real time, on the status of the water network. The installation of IoT sensors continued in 2023, bringing to 900 the total number of monitored network points. The sensors remotely provide data, which is subsequently processed using water balance software and modelling, which will be essential in detecting and eliminating network losses. Finally, the increase in withdrawals from the managed area’s more important sources (Santa Maria La Foce Spring in Sarno and Santa Marina di Lavorate Spring in Nocera Superiore), for more natural availability, resulted in a consistent reduction in withdrawals from underground water, contributing to preserving groundwater reserves.

In Gesesa, the Recovery Plan for water resources continued in 2023 in the city of Benevento and other managed Municipalities, which involves the replacement of damaged pipes, application of a system to reduce water leaks and reduction of operating pressures on the network. Losses for the year were 55.91% of total water fed into the aqueduct system (55.94% in 2022), reducing lost volumes from 10 million m3 in 2022 to 9.8 million m3 in 2023. Actions will continue in 2024, involving all the Municipalities.

Overall, thanks to the actions taken by the Company, losses fell by 1.1% in the year, from 437.8 Mm3 (consolidated figure) in 2022 to 433.1 Mm3. When compared to 2020 data (507.5 Mm3), this reduction was 14.7%. For details on this issue and the individual water balances, see the Environmental Report.

221 See also the 2020-2024 Group Sustainability Plan.
222 Value calculated in line with the reporting boundary for total losses in 2019, the reference year for the targets defined in the 2020-2024 Group Sustainability Plan.
223 Gori was awarded a "50 million grant. The contracted works funded by the grant were delivered on 9 September 2022.