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Combining private investment and an EIB loan to cope with water scarcity in Lisbon


Source: EPAL






509,312   (2015)

Climate Impact(s)



Adaptation measures financed

  •   Leakage detection system
  •   Adjustment of water infrastructure to reduce water leakage
  •   Adaptation of drought and water conservation plans
  •   Water restrictions and consumption cuts

Financing source(s)

                Private   investors      Financial institution


Financing type(s)

Direct private   financing and a loan

Financing mechanism(s)

Business case and European   Investment Bank (EIB) loan process

Summary Description:

In   the city of Lisbon a way to reduce the volume of water lost due to leakages (also   known as non-revenue water) was found. The main source of this problem is   linked to faults in the pipelines due to the aging of the infrastructure. To   address the water leakages, Lisbon’s water company EPAL decided to develop   the monitoring program WONE through which water leakages could be identified   more quickly and located more precisely. It used its own budget.  The monitoring system allows the comparison   of expected water usage data to real-time water usage using a tailor-made   software. When a discrepancy is found, it alerts the monitoring team that   there is a potential leak in the system, who then identify the leak by   tracing back the water meter that provided the data. After the location of   the leak is identified, ‘leak detection mechanics’, are sent out to carry out   a field-based leak detection and repair the problem.

To   finance the costs of the renewal of the infrastructure, EPAL has received   loans of almost €2,500,000,000 from the EIB at favorable interest rates since   1993. Their support was used to finance water supply extensions and upgrades,   waste management measures, sanitation networks and efficiency improvements.   The program has resulted today in a reduction of non-revenue water from 23,5%   in 2005 to around 8,5% in 2015.

Main Challenge for implementation:

It can be   difficult for cities to take the initiative in realizing a water efficiency   program as the role of cities is limited to being a facilitator and customer   of the water company. To carry out a water efficiency program is in the first   place an investment decision that needs to be taken by the water company   itself.

Main success factor for implementation:

Support of the   management board of the company has been proven to be an important success   factor, as well as the involvement of other key areas of the company, namely   network operations, maintenance and customer relations.

The extreme   drought in 2005 led to a higher awareness of the risks involved in droughts.

EPAL   and EIB have built a long trusted relationship. The provision of annual   progress reports about new concepts and methodologies by EPAL to the EIB, as   well as updates on the related international and national programmes build   trust.


EPAL Portugal


Long version on Climate-ADAPT:


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Previous comments

  • leitnmar (Markus Leitner) 13 Dec 2016 12:31:05

    Please explain EPAL acronym in the text.

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