The integrated water service (waterworks, sewers and purification systems) is managed locally on the level of “optimal geographical areas” (abbreviated to Ato). Basically, the Ato is a geographical area identified by the Region, sharing a single river basin or sub-river basin and management unit. Additionally, the dimensions of the Ato must meet certain criteria based on physical, technical and population-related parameters defined by the law. By law, all the municipalities that fall under a certain Ato must participate in the sole management of the water service.
Ato number 5 “Southern Lazio” of Frosinone (the one which covers most of our territory) is composed of 86 Municipalities (85 in Ciociaria and one - Campodimele - in the province of Latina).
Each Ato has its own governance body, comprised of the Provinces and Municipalities present therein. The form and operations of said governance body depend on the form of collaboration chosen by the Municipalities when they joined forces to manage the Ato.
Ato number 5 of Frosinone was created in 1996 when all the interested parties signed a cooperation agreement that appointed the Province of Frosinone as the chair of the Authority that governs the area (known as “Ega” or “or Autorità d’ambito”, also abbreviated to “A. Ato”).
There are essentially three “organs” of the governance body: the Chair (an office assigned to the president of the province of Frosinone); the Mayors’ Advisory Board (composed of 7 mayors elected by their colleagues, responsible for aiding and advising the president - the regional capital is automatically a member) and the Mayor’s Conference (composed of all the mayors of the Municipalities in the Ato, also sometimes called “Mayors’ meeting”). The meetings take place at the headquarters of the Provincial Administration. There is also a technical-administrative structure, which is responsible for overseeing and controlling the management of the water service, named the Technical-operational Office (Sto), composed of the technicians and staff of the organizations involved.
The governance body of the Ato decides which “tool” to use for the management of the water service from the formulas approved by the law. In 2001, Ato number 5 of Frosinone opted to assign this task to third parties by way of a tender. In 2003, the thirty-year contract was assigned to the company Acea Ato 5 Spa, the current water operator, and is bound to the Ato Authority by a detailed service agreement which, also through a set of Technical Regulations, dictates the rules for the management of the local waterworks, sewers and purification systems.
The other main tasks of the Ato Authority are to prepare the various plans required to manage the service, such as the intervention plan and the economic-financial plan.
The governance body, composed of the mayors, prepares the tariffs and periodic adjustments. It does this by applying the tariff method established by the National Authority for the sector (now named Arera: Energy, Grid and Environment Regulation Authority). The tariffs prepared by the Ato Authority are applied immediately even if their definitive approval is remitted to the Arera and, in case of amendments by this Authority the difference is managed as an end of period adjustment.
The Water Operator acts as the “plumber” of our networks, maintaining them and performing the works required (investments planned by the Ato Authority) to make the service more effective and efficient. All costs sustained are charged in the bill based on the mechanism by which the tariff applied must ensure the recovery of all the expenses (operating costs and investments).