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Llobregat (Spain)

Dual extraction and injection well in SJD

Dual extraction and injection well

The demo site

Barcelona Metropolitan Area (BMA) is facing recurrently and increasingly severe water scarcity periods. In 2008, BMA suffered from the last chapter of drought, which was used as an example to illustrate the problem with water scarcity and drought in the EU by the European Environmental Agency (EEA). To face this, operators, politicians and scientific community joined efforts to push Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) complementary solutions in the Llobregat Aquifer as the hydraulic barrier against sea water intrusion, the continuous operation of infiltration ponds and best regulation of groundwater abstraction.

AB is the main water operator in the BMA, supplying more than 3 million inhabitants with an average density of 5.093hab/km². Currently 10% of water supply for the BMA comes from the Llobregat Aquifer. Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) facilities are located near the Drinking Water Treatment Plant of Sant Joan Despí. 12 reversible wells equipped with injection and recovery systems are able to inject 75,000 cubic meters of freshwater per day, coming from the surplus of the DWTP potable water.

Despite the suitability of the alluvial aquifer and the good results achieved, the system has been operated less and less. Nowadays the ASR system is not operating due mainly to the high water production costs and the unsustainability (broadly defined) of the ASR scheme using potable water.

Pumping system in SJD

Pumping system

What is being tested?

At the Llobregat River Delta, DESSIN will maximize the use of the existing deep injection system (ASR) in the Drinking Water Treatment Plant by validating and demonstrating the flexibility of the system where the aquifer receives different water qualities, while Water Framework Directive compliance is ensured. The technical innovation will be linked to the assessment of ecosystem services (ESS), to highlight the value of the enhanced management system.

Contact for the demo site: Pere Camprovín, Cetaqua (