By Aigües de Barcelona

Nowadays, approximately 92% of the water in the metropolitan area of Barcelona comes from low resilience sources exposed to weather conditions, and almost 34% of the water comes from non-local sources. The challenge of the climate crisis will force the adoption of mitigation and adaptation measures. Among these, regenerated water reuse is vital in ensuring the continuity of the drinking water supply. That is why Aigües de Barcelona, in their wastewater treatment plants, goes a step further, regenerating purified water for new uses.

Following this strategy, the purified water is subjected to a new treatment so that it can be reused, thus fostering a circular model. Once regenerated, water can be returned in optimal conditions to rivers and aquifers to start the catchment cycle again. Treated wastewater can also be supplied directly to industries, cities and agriculture for different uses (irrigation of streets and green areas, agricultural production, industrial processes, etc.).

The circularity of the regeneration model facilitates not relying exclusively on environmental and climatic conditions to guarantee access to water. Furthermore, it promotes the preservation of rivers and aquifers, allowing the regeneration of the ecosystems and biodiversity they host. Regenerated water is local, accessible and stable, thus making effective, sustainable and environmentally responsible management possible.

Aigües de Barcelona promotes sustainable and responsible sanitation to protect our planet and people's health. Therefore, in 2021 within the context of a climate emergency, with the limited capacity of rivers and aquifers and the increased demand for this scarce resource, the company has managed to regenerate 38 hm3 of water, the equivalent of 11,250 Olympic swimming pools. These figures signify an increase of 206% compared to the previous year, reaching 26.7% of the existing regeneration capacity.

For now, the most demanded uses of regenerated water are primarily environmental ones (maintenance of the ecological flow of the Llobregat River, injection of water into the recharging wells to avoid saline intrusion) and agricultural ones (irrigation of the Baix Llobregat Agricultural Park, the Canal de la Infanta and the Rec Vell of Sant Vicenç dels Horts).

In the framework of the MAGO project, Aigües de Barcelona participates in the improvement of regenerated water in the Gavà case study (Barcelona, Spain) with partners Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) case study coordinator, Consorci del Parc Agrari del Baix Llobregat, CSIC-IDAEA, Llobregat Delta Community of Water Users (CUADLL), LISODE and CETAQUA, coordinator of the MAGO project.