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May 13, 2024

Webuild: new water system for the Piana di Catania area zeroes all water leakage

25 km of old pipes now replaced to supply Sicilian orange orchards

Work part of the interventions to build the Palermo-Catania Railway Line

 

The Group replaced a pipe system that dated back to over 50 years, which was not completely mapped on the railway line route, and that leaked approximately 60% of the water
Activities were carried out with RFI and the Consorizio di Bonifica della Regione Siciliana (Sicilian Region Reclamation Consortium), with an investment exceeding 10 million euros.

 

Milan, May 13, 2024 – Twenty-five kilometres of new water pipes in one of the Italian territories most subject to drought. In the Piana di Catania area, works to replace part of the hydraulic system have been substantially completed. In fact, the water system was 50 years old and leaked 60% of the water damaging the agricultural companies that cultivate red oranges in Sicily. The new piping system will operate during the forthcoming water irrigation season, which normally starts at the beginning of June.

This intervention was possible thanks to Webuild who worked in synergy with the Consorzio di Bonifica della Regione Siciliana. It was commissioned by RFI who invested 10 million euros and is part of the activities linked to the construction of the doubling of the railway line of the Bicocca-Catenanuova section of the new Palermo-Catania railway line that will change how people move on the island.

The new pipes zeroed the water leakages in the renewed part, in an area covering 40,000 hectares where the regional irrigation system was modernized in the '60s. Works on Lot 6 of the doubling of the railway line of the Palermo-Catania passed through the Piana di Catania area that covers 60,000 hectares. The area is among the most fertile in Sicily, and is mainly cultivated with citrus groves, and in minor part also with vegetables and cereals. 

Interventions on the water system began during the 2022 Fall, once the interferences between the railway being built and the irrigation pipelines, canals and pipes, were identified, as part of the infrastructure project activities. Works therefore focused on the need to replace or deviate the existing pipelines, reaching the completion phase with the construction of approximately 25 km of ductile cast iron and high-density polyethylene piping (PEAD), which ensures the maximum hygienic standards to transport water, and a high resistance to corrosion, traction and to impact. 

Works were carried out by Webuild, ensuring the respect of the timings of the railway works, and concomitantly providing the possibility to keep irrigating during very hot periods with drought, therefore safeguarding the agricultural owners of the territory. 

The intervention allowed creating a more precise map of the existing water system and is part of a water shortage situation that is present in Italy and that in the South and especially in Sicily, is a real emergency. In fact, the island has to often ration water for hundreds of thousands of citizens. During the last five years, on average, the Italian water sector, invested 59 euros per inhabitant, 23 euros less than the European average summed to UK together, and the National Resilience Plan (PNRR) only dedicates 4% to the water sector. Italy has obsolete water infrastructures that loose over 40% of water during the distribution phase. It is the fourth worse-off nation in the European Union: 60% of the water is older than 30 years, and 25% dates back to over 50 years. Moreover, only 4% of the wastewater is destined for reuse in agriculture.

Webuild has been leading already for many years the water sector, both with regard to desalination and wastewater treatment, and also for dam purposes. Over 20 million people are daily served by the plants constructed by its subsidiary Fisia Italimpianti, while another 16 million people approximately will benefit from the currently ongoing construction works building new hydraulic infrastructures

If, on the one hand, Sicily presents a situation with great water shortage and a need to hugely invest in the sector, on the other hand the region is going through a historical phase with great development in the sustainable mobility sector. In Sicily, Webuild is in fact currently involved in the implementation of 8 projects, referring to seven sections of the Palermo-Catania-Messina high-capacity railway line and Lot 1 of the Ragusa-Catania highway corridor. These are large-scale projects designed to transform and innovate the region's infrastructure system and promise to generate a strong employment boost and a major spin-off for the region. To complete these projects, it is estimated that about 7,000 jobs will be created, including direct and third-party personnel, of which about 1,700 people are already at work, while the supply chain from the start of work consists of about 1,150 companies.   

Lot 6, with works now having reached 75% of the total, foresees doubling approximately 38 km of high-speed railway line between Catenanuova and Bicocca, on the Palermo-Catania route, partly built alongside the historical line, now a single track one, in part by building a new and different route entirely on double track. The route will help improve rail service between Enna and Catania ensuring more transits and reduced travel times.  The section is an important piece to strengthen the railway connections with the ports of Catania, Augusta, and Palermo, and with the airports of Palermo and Catania.

Nuova rete idrica, Piana di Catania, Sicilia | Webuild

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13/05/2024 - Press release

Webuild: new water system for the Piana di Catania area zeroes all water leakage

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