• The operations aim to cut water losses, increase resilience to future extreme weather events, and renew existing water infrastructure.
  • The project is in line with the Paris Agreements and the EIB’s climate goals.
  • Acquedotto Pugliese’s project will benefit from National Recovery and Resilience Plan funds in addition to the EIB resources.
  • The EIB provided €2.9 billion of financing for the Italian water sector between 2016 and 2022.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a €270 million green loan to Acquedotto Pugliese S.p.A. (AQP), primarily aiming to improve water and wastewater infrastructure to provide more efficient and resilient services to over 4 million people in the Puglia and Campania regions of Italy.

In concrete terms, the EIB funds will support Acquedotto Pugliese’s water and sewerage investment plan for 2023-2027. The company will also receive further resources from the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).

The EIB and NRRP funds will enable Acquedotto Pugliese to carry out around 100 small and medium-sized operations to further improve the preservation and efficient use of water resources, cut water losses across the network and ensure compliance with national and EU environmental regulations. The investment will help to improve the water supply and wastewater collection, and contribute to the modernisation of existing wastewater treatment plants and the construction of new sewerage systems. Operations are also planned to expand Acquedotto Pugliese’s digitalisation efforts via the installation of smart meters and to ensure that supply systems are more resilient to future extreme weather events such as drought.

The loan granted to Acquedotto Pugliese is among the EIB's first green loans in the Italian water sector, and the first to an operator in the south of the country. These support high-priority operations focusing exclusively on sustainability, climate action and the environment.

“This operation confirms the position of the EIB — the EU climate bank — as one of the Italian water sector’s main financers. It has provided €1.3 billion to the sector in 2023 alone,” said EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti. “Funds from the EIB and NRRP will enable Acquedotto Pugliese to cut losses and improve water quality and services in the 260 municipalities it serves in Puglia and Campania.”

“The EIB green loan will support Acquedotto Pugliese’s strategic plan,” explained Acquedotto Pugliese President Domenico Laforgia. “Planned investment up to 2026 totals €2 billion, and we invested over €312 million in 2022 alone. The goals are ambitious: to complete the plan we intend to prevent 44 million m3 of water losses and manage 130 000 tonnes of sewage sludge in house. Acquedotto Pugliese aims to generate 91 GWh of energy from renewable sources. The benefits will be clear — not only in terms of improved services but also for the positive economic, social and environmental impact.”

Strong EIB support for Italy’s water sector

The EIB is the EU climate bank and one of the world's largest lenders to the water sector, with over 1 600 projects and around €80 billion in funding granted since 1958. Italy was the biggest beneficiary of EIB resources for the water sector from 2016 to 2022. The EIB financed 40 operations in the country during this period, providing a total of €2.9 billion and helping to unlock about €8.9 billion in investment. This is the third EIB loan granted to Acquedotto Pugliese, and comes in addition to those signed in 2023 with Iren Group (Liguria), CIIP (Marche), Acque Spa (Tuscany), ACEA (Lazio), HERA Group (Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto) and Como Acqua (Lombardy).

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Between 2019 and 2022, the EIB Group provided €45 billion in financing for projects in Italy.

Acquedotto Pugliese S.p.A. (AQP) — with its 20 000 km of water networks serving over 4 million users, 12 000 km of sewerage systems and 184 wastewater treatment plants — is among Italy’s main integrated water cycle management players and one of the most complex civil engineering operations in Europe. This system is one of the longest in the world and is located in the Puglia service area (the largest in Italy). It supplies drinking water to Puglia (100% of the population), Basilicata (25%) and Campania (2%). The services provided range from abstraction and collection to the treatment and distribution of water, together with sewerage and wastewater treatment services. Parent company Acquedotto Pugliese S.p.A. also controls Aseco S.p.A., which specialises in the treatment and recovery of organic waste.