Full concession granted in July 2004 realized several basic sanitation works in the city. Numbers place the city in a prominent position in the state and in the country.
On July 8 2004, Companhia Águas de Itapema started operating in the county with the challenge to supply quality and treated water to the fixed and floating population, who had suffered from shortages of regular water distribution, mainly during the summer season, and to implement garbage collection and sewage treatment, inexistent at that point in time.
With continuous investments and technicians committed to the good management of the operations and the environment, the Company changed Itapema’s reality. The construction of Water Treatment Stations, reservoirs and untreated water conservation lakes solved the supply problems, guaranteeing treated water to 100% of the population, all year long.
The collection and sewage treatment system was expanded year after year and, currently, it provides services to 74% of the county’s population. This year, new investments are expanding collection to more than 3 kilometers, increasing the percentage of sewage treatment to 90% in 2020. Numbers have shown that the county is moving towards basic sanitation universalization, becoming a reference not only in Santa Catarina but also in the whole country.
Investments, currently adding up to R$ 166 million, are now being expanded to more than R$ 100 million, bring optimism to city leaderships. Roderjan Diehl Volaco, entrepreneur and head of Grupo Roderjan, with operations in the condominiums, accounting and consulting sectors, reminds us of the immediate benefits brought by private investments to the county. “There is an Itapema before and after CONASA. I have worked in the settlements and condominium development sector for 30 years and, in my activity, water shortages and sewage treatment probems were latent, and it was starting to have an impact on the businesses. Many condominium dwellers wanted to sell their properties, which were being depreciated due to these problems. When the arrival of Conasa and private investments were announced, everything changed”, he affirmed.
According to him, entrepreneurs were fully satisfied with this real estate valuation trend. “We will have better quality of life, which, together with the city’ privileged geographical location, will certainly bring development. This is so true that currently Itapema is at the top of state and national rankings. The city was able to foresee the importance of services concession, and, today, it has changed the city’s profile with the inflow of investments. Basic sanitation is of fundamental importance to urban development and the population’s quality of life”.
João Formento, Sinduscon Costa Esmeralda president also stresses the positive impact of these improvements on the county’s socioeconomic indexes. “The services provided by Águas de Itapema are essential to the county, since a city without basic sanitation and treated water is bound to have serious public health problems. When we analyze the importance of the Company to the work reported here, we notice how they are directly related to the increase in real estate investments. Whenever a county begins to offer sewage treatment and effective water supply systems to all citizens, it moves up to a better quality of life classification. Can you imagine spending the summer in a place where water is scarce, sewers are open and diseases rates are high?, he adds. This is a global problem. Thus, sanitation is extremely important and is impacting on the county’s process of real estate valuation”.
Rafael Roberto Ruthmann, president of Associação Empresarial de Itapema, reminds us that the Brazilian basic sanitation system still needs special attention. “It is a highly discussed topic in everyday life; however, investments are practically invisible in great part of the Brazilian cities. Thanks to the concession, present in our city for 15 years, Itapema goes against all negative statistics in the country, becoming a city with no treated water shortages, with 74% of treated sewage and works to reach 90% until 2020, being among the 10 cities with the highest index of treated sewage in the country”.
Ruthmann emphasizes that Itapema was the fastest growing county in the state of Santa Catarina. “Undoubtedly, basic sanitation helped the county reach this position. The concession strengthened the socioeconomic structure of the county, bringing better results, creating new jobs in all segments and, most importantly, improving the life quality of the people who chose to invest, live or visit our city”.
For Jaqueline Pacheco, vice-president of Associação de Moradores do Jardim Praia Mar and president of the neighborhood Conselho de Saúde, investments made in the city by Conasa Águas de Itapema solved the problem of water shortages in the homes during the summer as well as of the quality of the water supplied by the city system. “Currently we have quality water all year long. We made great advances towards sewage treatment, and now, with the investments being made in Praia Mar and Morretes, we will have more quality of life and public health”.
Jaqueline also mentioned the proximity with the Company as one of the most important assets for the county’s population. According to her, “the company’s commitment to transparency is what she likes best. The team comes to the neighborhood to talk to people, answer questions, and explain the work to be realized, helping them to understand the benefits they will bring. They show respect to the community and how the Company cares for people. Private investments are important for basic sanitation in Brazil and in Itapema we live in paradise, since we’ve had not only investments, but quality investments.”
Entrepreneur Ivanor de Souza, President of Rotary Club Costas Verdes Mares, also mentioned the resources shortages and supply problems of some decades ago. “I arrived in Itapema in 1998 and witnessed the growth of the city which doubled its population every 10 years. Based on the current civil construction boom, the city may reach 2020 with 200 thousand inhabitants. I have participated actively in Itapema’s social movements, and we used to have serious water supply problems in the city, which got worse every year. Three years later, before the arrival of Conasa, during the summer season, the population was supplied by a fleet of water trucks for a high consumption price”.
According to him, the works initiated immediately by Conasa in 2004 already indicated important changes. “The work is meeting the city’s needs and we haven’t had water shortages for years. This last summer, several coastal cities were without water but Itapema. Only residents without water tanks capable of being adjusted to possible water flow reductions in the system due to season peaks, which goes over half a million people in a period of 20 days, had to go without water”.
Ivanor also highlighted sewage treatment investments. “The Company continues to invest in the city, nowadays in the expansion of the sewage collection system. The works are already being realized and they will help to reduce pollution of Rio Pereque considerably. Conasa is meeting legal deadlines for the implementation of basic sanitation plan targets and, certainly, the Company and technical team will continue to meet the demands, needs and wishes of the population of Itapema to reach the city’s growth rate forecasted for the next couple of years”, he stressed.