In the current situation, technology and resilience are key to fulfilling the needs of the population and addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Enrique Fernández, Country Manager for Qatar, details in this interview the actions performed in the area.
Enrique is responsible for building a team of professionals committed to the implementation of technology in the water sector. After developing Aguas de Valencia in Qatar, the current challenge is to present Idrica as a digital transformation company specializing in the water industry.
Q. How is the COVID-19 crisis being experienced in the area?
A. Some countries in the Middle East are currently under lockdown. In our case, Qatar acted soon: schools, bars and shops were closed, company’s working hours were limited and worker attendance was reduced to 20%, masks became mandatory in many places, mosques were closed, daily tests began, etc.
Many companies decided to work from home as a preventive measure. We prepared in advance in case a lockdown was announced, informing staff that it was possible to work from home, in the office or in shared facilities with a partner.
We are living this crisis intensely, with sacrifice and effort. Despite all this, thanks to the commitment of the team and the unconditional support from Spain of Severino Ramos, Head of Middle East Idrica, and Jaime Barba, CEO Idrica, we are emerging stronger from the crisis.
Q. What measures or actions are being taken to address this situation?
A. We are following Qatar’s guidelines, reducing working hours and minimizing face-to-face meetings. Thanks to new technologies we have been able to stay connected. In addition, we are providing masks to all staff, measuring the temperature of employees, and we have issued safety notices in offices, construction sites and subcontractors.
Q. How is GoAigua technology helping? What has been the most relevant technology during this crisis?
A. We have successfully implemented the Smart SCADA solution (GoAigua), which allows us to remotely control the behavior of the network and potential alarms, avoiding supply cuts or water quality problems without on-site data collection. In this way, we also reduce travel and minimize exposure to the virus. On the other hand, throughout this crisis we have been in contact with our customers, subcontractors and partners thanks to new technologies.
Q. When all this is over, what changes do you think the crisis will bring to water management services?
A. We are already seeing the change, as we have been able to adapt quickly to working remotely by accessing network and plant control services without interrupting service or compromising quality. We have quickly optimized the personnel needed at the facilities. We are undergoing a process of change and we must adapt to it.