Regeneration and reuse of runoff and drainage water in agricultural plots by combined natural water treatment systems

The decrease in water consumption for agriculture and the minimizing of the impacts that this region has on the environment are the main objectives of this project. In 2006, groundwater and surface water extraction in the EU was about 38,900 million m3 (Eurostat, 2006). In recent years, 41.4% of the territory of the EU27 has been declared as nitrate vulnerable zones (Eurostat, 2006), as a direct result of pressure from farming on the environment.

The demonstrative pilot system, which will reuse irrigation water in two different agricultural management scenarios, is a combination of two appropriate treatment technologies of polluted water with natural systems: constructed wetlands and buffer strips, combination designed to optimize system efficiency in removing pollutants (nitrates, phosphates, and pesticides). The treated water will recirculate within the system, where a part of it will be reused for plot irrigation, while the rest will be used to recharge the aquifer in the area of the head of the riverside forest, thus ensuring the water table and natural processes of the river recharge in the study area.

The demonstration of the functioning of these recirculation systems shall be conducted under two different scenarios. In the first scenario, it will function as two parcels on either side of the stream with flood irrigation systems (grid free surface), and in the other scenario, the system will also function with two parcels on either side of a watercourse, but in this case the cultivation has already been passed through rain fed irrigation. In all cases, it will be conducted in irrigated plots close to rivers, where the majority of the aliment is through groundwater. This way, it facilitates the collection and distribution of water.

REAGRITECH aims to demonstrate a method for recycling water resources at parcel scale, in order to optimize the resources for its best use in the ecosystem and therefore achieve a sustainable and integrated river basin, by improving the chemical characteristics of the reused water and, therefore improve the natural environment surrounding them.

The main advantages of this demonstration project are: optimization of water resources within the supply system, decreasing the contributions of pollutant loads on the hydrological system, the recovery of habitats and riparian and aquatic ecosystems degraded by human pressure, the improvement of the ecological status of surface water bodies, the development of a remedy for potential changes in the environment as a result of its transformation into irrigated agricultural areas, defined by different watershed plans and programs, and reducing investments in treatment facilities of river water for consumption within the plans purification of agencies.

Project Budget: 2'167'886 €

LEITAT Budget: 298'114 €

Financial Framework: LIFE+

Contract number: LIFE11 ENV/ES/000579

Start Date: 01/09/2012

End Date: 30/12/2016


Contact Manager: L. Valentin

With the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union