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  • Dear Readers!

    Family-run companies generate almost 50% of the German economy’s total turnover and provide over 50% of all jobs in our country. Our ‘Mittelstand’ (i.e. our SMEs) – which, we are constantly being told, is held in envy around the world – is the anchor that gives Europe’s largest national economy the stability it needs, driving growth across the whole of the continent. 83% of all apprenticeship jobs in Germany are created by SMEs. 1,307 of the globally identified 2,700 ‘Hidden Champions’ are German Mittelstand firms. So what have these facts got to do with public private partnerships?

    They are an opportunity for local authorities and their companies to become a part of this exceptional success story. Family-owned businesses focus on values, traditions and reliability across generations. More often than not, they are deeply rooted in their regions and actively involved in their communities. And it is this that enables them to enjoy long-term success. We believe it to be a good decision when a municipal partner chooses to have its essential public services provided by a joint venture with a private-sector partner. Learning from mistakes made and drawing the right conclusions for the future are two further strengths of family-run companies that have been able to enjoy decades of success on their markets thanks to their high levels of expertise and their special ethos.

    The need for greater efficiency by, on the one hand, dividing up tasks and specialising in specific areas and, on the other, keeping costs under control means that once again public private partnerships are being viewed as a future-proof business model.

    For decades now, REMONDIS has been showing every day that better results can be achieved by working together. With 64 PPP companies and a whole range of third-party service provision agreements, we have perfected the public private partnership concept for all essential public services – from waste management, to water management, all the way through to public transport – to the benefit of both parties. Working together with its municipal partners, REMONDIS delivers services to over twelve million people living in Germany. Local authorities and their residents always receive the highest quality of service possible and have the peace of mind that their fees and charges will remain stable over a long period of time.

    As a rule, public private partnerships are a real blessing for a council’s budget as they are a reliable source of tax revenue. The most can be made of the opportunities to optimise operations. Successful collaboration work with the private sector preserves public property and creates jobs. Fees and charges are stabilised and the pressure on the public purse is relieved.

    This latest special issue is dedicated to the subject of public private partnerships and takes an in-depth look at the various PPP models, the advantages for local authorities and their residents and the positive impact they have on jobs, the environment and the local economy. Councils wishing to achieve long-term budget stability, high quality public services and maximum levels of sustainability by operating an environmentally responsible circular economy will find some valuable suggestions and accounts in this issue to help them with their decision-making processes.

    We look forward to working with you!

    Yours Ludger Rethmann

A water-rich region

  • Schwerin, the capital city of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, lies nestled between three lakes: Schweriner Lake, Lankower Lake and Ostorfer Lake. Just under 20% of the city area is covered by water. With this region boasting seven lakes in all, water is not only an important resource here, it is also a biosphere that needs to be protected. The joint venture WAG is, therefore, well aware of the great responsibility it has towards the city as it fulfils its tasks of supplying drinking water and treating wastewater.

Keeping water flowing in & around the city

The joint venture Wasserversorgungs- und Abwasserentsorgungsgesellschaft Schwerin mbH & Co. KG, aka WAG, was founded between the utilities company Stadtwerke Schwerin and EURAWASSER Schwerin GmbH in 2003. Since then, WAG has been responsible for supplying sustainable, top quality drinking water as well as for operating Schwerin’s wastewater treatment network. Furthermore, WAG delivers its excellent drinking water to the surrounding districts that belong to the local water association. With the contract with the water association having been extended just recently, the company will now be supplying the region with drinking water until 2035 – a reflection of the strength of this partnership and WAG’s high performance.

  • “The collaboration with REMONDIS is a robust, well-functioning partnership that guarantees that Schwerin’s local residents have access to drinking water supply and wastewater treatment systems of the highest technical and environmental standards.”

    Dr Rico Badenschier, Mayor

A secure network

WAG is able to deliver such a high performance by operating a large network of plants and facilities. These include two waterworks, four booster stations, a network of over 540km of pipes, a sewage treatment plant, just under 400 wastewater pump stations and more than 550km of sewer pipes. It is, therefore, extremely important that WAG regularly invests in maintaining and renovating these facilities. The company uses an asset management system here to help it select preventative measures and make smart investment decisions. A wide range of people benefit from WAG’s services including the local residents and its many external customers such as the utility companies and the state capital Schwerin.

Keeping an eye on the smallest particles

WAG’s subsidiary, Aqua Service Schwerin Beratungs- und Betriebsführungsgesellschaft mbH, also has an important role to play. One of its main tasks is to carry out laboratory work, analysing drinking water, microbiology, wastewater, sewage sludge, soils and bathing water quality. Water is also a biosphere that must be protected. WAG, therefore, sees it as its duty to find the right balance between the consumption and the protection of its water resources. And it is precisely for this reason that WAG has been investing in the long-term protection of its drinking water resources as well as supporting sustainable social projects run in the city.

Facts & Figures

  • Wasserversorgung- und Abwasserentsorgungsgesellschaft Schwerin mbH & Co. KG (WAG)

    • PPP model:
      cooperation model


      51% Stadtwerke Schwerin GmbH
      49% EURAWASSER Schwerin GmbH

    • Specialises in:
      operating pipe networks, waterworks, wells, sewage treatment plants, sewer services, pump stations, road drainage

      Residual materials processed per year:
      7 million m³ wastewater

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