Water reuse in industries: from research to implementation

In the framework of the LIFE WIRE project, Cetaqua, Water Technology Center, and Aigües de Barcelona organized last Thursday, March 30th, the conference "The challenges of water reuse in industries: from research to implementation", which addressed the technical and economic viability of water reuse in the industrial sector with the aim of promoting it.

Petició: Aira Buskute

On March 30th, the Cetaqua Water Technology Center and Aigües de Barcelona held a seminar entitled “The challenges of water reuse in industries: from research to implementation”. The aim of the seminar was to promote water reuse in the industrial sector.

Water scarcity is becoming an increasingly important issue, meaning that the development of sustainable strategies for existing water resources is no longer simply an option, but rather a necessity. Water reuse is a key management strategy. The use of reclaimed water enables reduced consumption of water in the network and groundwater, thereby freeing up resources of high-quality water for more demanding uses. Although this is not a new strategy, the degree of implementation is still a long way from reaching its full potential. The seminar held on March 30th by the Cetaqua Water Technology Center and Aigües de Barcelona examined the technical and economic feasibility of water reuse in the industrial sector.

The event attracted more than 60 attendees, including representatives of public entities, industries, companies and technology centers specialized in water management. During the event, Professor Rafael Mujeriego, from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), presented emblematic cases of water reuse in industries such as the West Basin Municipal Water District (WBMUD) in California and the ERA from Camp de Tarragona, which demonstrated the reliability and sustainability of this practice. R. Mujeriego highlighted that Catalonia has everything to become a reference for reuse at European level.

Later, Àlex Vega (Aigües de Barcelona) spoke about the role of regenerated water within the integral water cycle in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, leaving a clear message: the periodic droughts that this area is suffering cause that new sources are required to guarantee the availability of the resource.

In the second part of the event, the example of the WWTP of Baix Llobregat was presented, showing the operation of advanced regeneration technologies that have been tested at pilot level in the framework of the LIFE WIRE project in three types of industries – chemical (Archroma), waste treatment (Tradebe-Ecoimsa) and surface coating (Tacsa) – adapting the quality of water to their needs. The industrial partners concluded that the technical viability of reusing water has been proven, and in two of the cases it would also mean cost savings for the industry. The industrial representatives mentioned that if the framework existed and with the assumptions of costs, they would bet on implementing reuse.

The conference was framed in the LIFE WIRE project, co-funded by the European Commission through the LIFE program. The project, led by Cetaqua and which also has the participation of Aguas de Barcelona, Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, Archroma, Tacsa and Tradebe, aims to improve the efficiency of the water cycle through the reuse of water in industries.

Specifically, LIFE WIRE aims to demonstrate the viability of different technological configurations capable of producing regenerated water of the required quality for each of the industrial uses. This would lead to a reduction in the consumption of drinking water and wells, thus increasing the sustainability of the water cycle.