Discover the Acea Group online 2019 Sustainability Report

Protection of the territory

Acea pays attention to the protection of the territory region and the safeguarding of biodiversity. The protection of ecosystems is contemplated in the procedures of the Environmental Management Systems, in the context of the design and construction of plants, as well as in the management of the relevant areas. Moreover, as required by the Authorisations of existing plants and every time an Integrated Environmental Authorisation (IEA) is renewed for a plant, this is managed by protecting the flora and fauna and protecting the environment and the landscape in which the plant is located. The main activities of the Group Companies that may have an impact on biodiversity are primarily attributable to the management of water sources, the operation of electricity production systems (hydroelectric, thermoelectric and waste to energy), the distribution of electricity and the treatment of waste.

In 2019, in order to verify the presence of species listed in the red list (IUCN) and in the national lists of protected species in the areas of operation, Acea carried out a specific investigation that involved the verification of the location of the Group’s main plants within the following types of protected areas: Sites of Community Interest (SCIs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) covered by the Natura 2000 network and other areas of biodiversity value, such as protected parks. In addition to the progressive extension of the analyses to all Group companies, Acea intends to continue this investigation, verifying the presence of protected species in the areas of interest and the possible contact between them and the operations of the Companies. The surveys carried out in 2019 found no Acea Ambiente plants (thermal renewal and composting) or Acea Produzione thermoelectric plants in protected areas, while the analyses carried out on Acea Ato 2 infrastructure found 7 plants in protected areas (SPAs, SCIs or regional parks)101.

Built prior to the establishment of parks, protected areas and special conservation areas, the sites are considered to require absolute protection as they are close to springs are managed with the utmost attention to the conservation of existing ecosystems and the preservation of the water flow. In an area around the Acqua Vergine springs, for years Acea Ato 2 has monitored the presence of the Peregrine falcon, a protected species that, despite preferring open and wild areas, can nest even in artificial constructions like towers and bell towers in heavily built-up territories. Every year a large community including scholars, ornithologists and simple enthusiasts follows the lives of the Peregrine Falcons who live among the Acqua Vergine springs, thanks to a webcam managed by Ornis italica, an association of researchers promoting the project, which broadcasts images of a nest situated on Acea infrastructure (

Acea Ato 2 also monitors the areas surrounding the largest treatment plants in Rome. The results of the analyses carried out at the purification plant in Rome Nord have shown that the plant constitutes a synanthropic biodiversity hotspot, i.e. a place where species that coexist or are learning to coexist with humans through mechanisms of evolution and natural selection tend to form a rich and stable ecological community.

Indeed, the specific ecological conditions combined with the low impact of man-made structures facilitates the presence of an extremely particular wildlife community.

Acea Produzione manages the water basins of hydroelectric plants and provides for the protection of the habitats of all species present in these areas in order to mitigate the effect of the artificial barrier of the dams, which interferes with the natural migration of fish and the gradual sedimentation of the riverbed, with consequent variation of the native flora of the banks. In addition, the Company’s protection of the aforementioned basins ensures the living conditions of the “settled” and “migratory” birds, which use these sites for reproduction/ feeding even during migration.

Finally, in order to limit the potential impacts of overhead infrastructure for the distribution of HV and MV electricity on birds, Areti employs risk mitigation initiatives in collaboration with the relevant authorities, making use of the best technological solutions for problems that are likely to occur in sensitive areas or areas of particular naturalistic value. In particular, through the Memorandum of Understanding for the rearrangement of the electricity grids signed by Areti, Terna and the Municipality of Roma Capitale in 2007, interventions have been planned to dismantle and demolish tens of kilometres of overhead power lines within very important areas subject to protection, such as: Veio Park, the Marcigliana Nature Reserve and, to the south of Rome, the Decima Malafe Nature Reserve and the Roman Coast Nature Reserve. For details of the interventions carried out in 2019, please refer to the Memorandum of Understanding for the rearrangement of the electricity grids in the section Energy distribution.


Through the Companies Acea Ato 2, Acea Ato 5, Gori and Gesesa, the Group mainly uses springs located in uncontaminated areas for water supply. For example, Rome is one of the few metropolitan areas in the world to boast a water resource of such excellent quality at the origin that it hardly requires pre-treatment for purification.

The supply system of the entire area covered by OTA 2 – central Lazio is composed of seven large aqueduct systems that transport water derived from 14 main sources to the distribution networks and from numerous smaller local sources (mainly wells), for a total flow that exceeds 21,000 litres/second. The drinking water distribution network extends for about 10,400 km. In addition to this priceless natural heritage, Lake Bracciano is a reserve to be used only in cases of emergency, after treatment. In 2019 Acea Ato 2 completed the transformation of the “Grottarossa” water purification plant on the Tiber, formerly a treatment plant for non-potable uses, which, once having obtained the necessary authorisations, will be ready to be used for water purification in the event of a water emergency.

The drinking water system of the OTA 5 Southern Lazio – Frosinone region is constituted by installations and networks, for conveyance and distribution, which are in charge of 7 principal springs from which the same number of aqueduct systems have their origin, for a total of 5,500 km of network102. In the region of the Sarnese Vesuvian District, the different springs and wells described in table no. 45 feed about 4,970 km of water network, of which 811 km of aqueducts and supply networks. Just as in the province of Benevento the plurality of springs feeds about 170 km of aqueducts and supply networks, with about 1,540 km of total distribution103.

Protection and safeguarding of water resources are also facilitated by compliance with the provisions of Legislative Decree no. 152/2006, which, in Article 94, regulates the methods for protecting areas where there is surface water and groundwater intended for human consumption.

Table no. 45 describes the location and surface areas in square metres of the areas subject to absolute protection104 in the provinces of Rome, Frosinone and Benevento.

101 Specifically the Peschiera, Le Capore, Pertuso, Ceraso Doganella, Acqua Vergine, Lago di Bracciano and Sorgenti Simbrivio catchment facilities.



In 2019, after the approval issued by the relevant Bodies, Acea Ato 2 began the design of works on the Peschiera-Le Capore and Marcio aqueducts aimed at ensuring the continuity and security of the supply to Roma Capitale and the territory of OTA 2.

The design of the new works, carried out in compliance with current regulations, will be developed following the Envision protocol procedures, the first rating system that assesses the economic, environmental and social sustainability of infrastructure.

New upper section of Peschiera-Le Capore

In July the specifications for the renewal of the concession for the derivation from the springs for Roma Capitale were signed, and consequently, due to the current management agreement, Acea Ato 2 was awarded the pro tempore concession of the integrated water service in the territory of OTA 2 Central Lazio – Rome. This important result, awaited for 23 years, is preparatory to the design and implementation of the aqueduct’s safety works. The planned works, now in the final design stage, involve the construction of a second 27 km line of infrastructure that will connect the spring with the Salisano node, which represents the upper section of the Peschiera-Le Capore aqueduct system. The planned doubling will make the supply of the concession capacity to Rome and the other areas more secure and resilient, countering the risks associated with the ageing of the current infrastructure and the seismic nature of the territory. The size of the infrastructure and the duration to be guaranteed have dictated innovative design choices inspired by the most modern execution techniques and monitoring technologies, for the definition of which experts in different fields of engineering have been involved and consulting from universities and research institutes has been requested. In the coming months the design will also undergo numerical/physical modelling for the most important elements.

In 2019 the objectives of the works were identified, with the drafting of the Requirement Framework (QE), the design specifications were defined with the drafting of the Design Guidance Document (DIP) and the Feasibility Document of the Project Alternatives, the Technical-Economic Feasibility Project and the Final Project. The cost-benefit analysis prepared by the Department of Management and Law of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” was used to choose the solution to be developed. In 2020 the authorisation phase will be carried out, preparatory for the call for tenders, which will also include an Environmental Impact Assessment (VIA).

New Marcio aqueduct

Two parallel aqueducts originate from the springs of Acqua Marcia, located in the valley of the Aniene river, namely the Marcio I and II aqueducts, which for more than 100 years have carried the water from the springs to Rome and the various municipalities along their path (for a total average flow of 3.5-5 m3/s). The layout of the two aqueducts has some problems related to the ability to ensure adequate hygienic protection of the transported water.

Moreover, given the age of the works and their limited management flexibility, works have been started to make the Marcio system reliable from the point of view of the quality and continuity of the resource and the flexibility of operations, benefiting the overall resilience of the capital’s supply.

In 2019 the objectives of the works were identified with the drafting of the QE, the design specifications were defined with the drafting of the Design Guidance Document and the drafting of the Feasibility Document of the Project Alternatives was completed. After careful examination with the multicriteria analysis, from the many possible solutions four hypotheses were identified that will be assessed as part of the cost-benefit analysis performed by the Department of Management and Law of the University of Rome Tor Vergata.

The completion of the design process and the start of the authorisation process prior to the call for tenders are expected in 2020.


sensitive areamunicapilitysurface
2) (*)
Peschiera springsmunicipality of Cittaducale (Rieti, Lazio)375,322
Le Capore springs municipality of Frasso and Casaprota (Rieti, Lazio)997,848
Acqua Marcia springmunicipalities of Agosta-Arsoli-Marano Equo (Rome)1,181,979
Acquoria spring municipality of Tivoli (Rome)17,724
Pantano Borghese Acqua Felice springs municipality of Zagarolo (Rome)779,143
Simbrivio springs and wellsmunicipality of Vallepietra (Rome)194,755
Pertuso springs municipality of Trevi – Filettino (Lazio)133,711
Doganella springs municipality of Rocca Priora (Rome)350,000
Acqua Vergine springs municipality of Rome500,000
Torre Angela wells municipality of Rome70,829
Finocchio wells municipality of Rome64,166
Laurentina wells municipality of Ardea13,661
Pescarella wells municipality of Ardea2,433
Lake of Braccianomunicipality of Rome169,200
Posta Fibreno wells municipality of Posta Fibreno (Frosinone)20,000
Tufano wells municipality of Anagni (Frosinone)18,000
Capofiume spring municipality of Collepardo (Frosinone)10,000
Madonna di Canneto spring municipality of Settefrati (Frosinone)10,000
Forma d’Aquino wells municipality of Castrocielo (Frosinone)20,000
Carpello wells municipality of Campoli Appennino (Frosinone)15,000
Mola dei Frati wells municipality of Frosinone5,000
12 wellsmunicipalities of Benevento, Telese Terme, Castelpagano, Vitulano, Melizzano, Sant’Agata de’ Goti, Cautano and Forchia9,110
Ciesco spring Castelpoto307
Faitillo e Orto dei Ciuffi spring San Giorgio La Molara2,412
Gradola spring Tocco Caudio707
Monticelli spring Castelpagano358
Pietrafitta e Ruggiero spring Torrecuso2,242
San Vito spring Frasso Telesino249
Voneventa spring Molinara516
Vado spring municipality of Bracigliano (Salerno)1,338
Forma spring municipality of Gragnano (Naples)322
Imbuto spring municipality of Gragnano (Naples)187,159
S,M, Lavorate spring municipality of Nocera Inferiore (Salerno)5,971
S,M La Foce spring and wells field municipality of Sarno (Salerno)60,202
Fontana grande springmunicipality of Castellammare di Stabia (Naples)330
Murata, Pugliana, Casaliciello, Santa Lucia, Tartaglia complexesmunicipalities of Cercola, Ercolano, Pollena Trocchia, Roccarainola, San Giorgio a Cremano (Naples)15,473
Monte Taccaro complex, Campo Angri well fieldmunicipality of Angri (Salerno)43,072
Suppezza, Gragnano, San Mauro Montalbino, Mercato Palazzo, Santa Lucia well fieldmunicipality of Castellammare di Stabia, Gragnano, Nocera Inferiore, Sarno (Salerno)46,610
Traiano, Stromboli-Vesuvio, Petraro wells municipalities of Castel San Giorgio, Mercato San Severino, Nocera Superiore (Salerno)7,203
21 wells in the province of Salernomunicipalities of Bracigliano, Castel San Giorgio, Corbara, Fisciano, Mercato San Severino, Nocera Inferiore, Nocera Superiore, Pagani, Siano (Salerno)10,657
4 wells in the province of Naplesmunicipalities of Castellammare di Stabia, Palma Campania, Roccarainola, San Giorgio a Cremano (Naples)1,529

(*) The surface area data is estimated.

For the monitoring of the area where the springs are located, Acea also uses “satellite observation”. Surveillance is concentrated in the places showing – on the basis of the comparison between two images taken from space at a distance of several months – an unjustified or in any event suspect morphological variation, such as new, unsurveyed constructions, earth movements, small landfills. Acea Ato 2 directly verifies the actual existence of threats to the water, ensuring precise monitoring. In fact, in 2019, thanks to the use of a satellite to perform change detection and additional inspections carried out along the supply and capture network, 57 violations were identified.

102 The Acea Ato 5 water network as a whole consists of 5,496 km, of which 1,208 km of aqueducts and supply networks.
103 2018 data.
104 The areas of absolute protection are the areas immediately surrounding the catchments or off-springs, as defined in Legislative Decree no. 152/2006.