Managed Aquifer Recharge to Encounter Emerging Pollutants

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2 October, 2014
Cornellà de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain

On October 2 2014, a DEMEAU utility event took place at the premises of Aigües de Barcelona. It was the first utility event that combined the presentation of research and implementation of Managed Aquifer Recharge with an interactive workshop contributing to work in DEMEAU’s Work Area 5 on Life Cycle Analysis and Life Cycle Costing.

Aigües de Barcelona (AB) is the main water operator in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and responsible for supplying more than 3 million inhabitants. AB has been at the forefront of implementing Managed Aquifer Recharge and has already applied the technique in the Llobregat region. The utility operates different types of MAR systems such as scarification of the river bed to improve natural infiltration of surface water to the aquifer, aquifer storage and recovery with their pumping wells as well as waste water reclamation. The waste water reclamation plant located in El Prat del Llobregat produces 12,600 m³/h. The reclaimed water feeds into the MAR system, providing recharge water to the MAR facilities located nearby. The DEMEAU delegation will visit this facility in the field trip in this event.

The meeting was opened by Tomas Michel, the General Director of Cetaqua, the partner in the project who organised the event with support of Ecologic Institute. In the first part of the morning session, DEMEAU representatives give insight in the finalised and ongoing work of the project. The presentations can be downloaded on the bottom of this page. Pere Verger (AB) presented the different MAR systems in place in Barcelona. Gesche Grützmacher (BWB) presented with the example of Berlin the application of advanced hydrogeological characterisation for the understanding of emerging pollutants fate in the aquifer. Following, an insight of several MAR types in other Spanish regions was given by Enrique Fernández (TRAGSA). The Water Recovery Project, the first case of deep injection in Spain, was presented by Ignacio Morell (IGME) & Bruno Ballesteros (UJI).

The second part of morning session dealt with the identification of barriers and drivers for MAR implementation that is based on the work of WA 5. After a brief introduction of the findings with regards to a stakeholder survey by Miranda Pieron (KWB), the participants split up in three working groups according to profession. Utility operators, scientists and administrative staff were discussing in paralell sessions important barriers that each group encounters in relation to implementation of MAR, how the stakeholder group could contribute to overcome these barriers and what would be required from the respective other stakeholder groups. Professor Emilio Custodio (Hydrogeologist, Technical University of Catalonia), Jordi Martín (Water Quality Manager in Aigües de Barcelona) and Alfredo Pérez Paricio (Catalan Water Agency, Authorisations department) moderated the sessions and presented the outcomes to the audience. The members of WA 5 considered the outcomes to be a valuable input for their research.

After the lunch on the historical grounds of AB, the participants visited the waste water reclamation plant located in El Prat del Llobregat. Teresa Garrido (ACA) presented the functioning of the salt water barrier that was operated between 2007 and 2011. The barrier consisted of a deep injection of reclaimed water after thorough cleansing processes.


Technology Group: 

Target group: 

Sites and Institutions: 

Ecologic Institute
CETaqua (Water Technology Center)
Aigues de Barcelona

Event type: