2015 saw the reuse of 30 cubic hectometres of reclaimed water in Catalonia, according to Catalan Water Agency (ACA) figures. This increase of 17% (5 hm3) on the previous year was achieved by subjecting the product water from public WWTPs in Catalonia to tertiary reclamation treatment in order to comply with the reuse standards set out in Royal Decree 1620/2007.
The reclaimed water was used for the irrigation of crops, urban areas and golf courses, street cleansing, aquifer recharge, maintenance and industrial uses, amongst others. This reuse prevented the extraction of 30 hm3 from natural sources, with consequent benefits for the environment.
Of the 30 hm3 of reclaimed water used, 18.6 hm3 (63%) was used for environmental purposes, 5.1 hm3 (17%) for recreational applications, almost 2 hm3 (7%) for agricultural purposes, 3.5 hm3 (12%) for industrial uses, and 0.3 hm3 (1%) for municipal purposes.
The quantities reused for agricultural, recreational and municipal purposes remained stable with respect to previous years, while the volume of water reused for environmental purposes increased slightly.
Increased use of reclaimed water in agriculture
The highest increase in the use of reclaimed water in 2015 was for agricultural purposes. The production of reclaimed water from tertiary treatment at the Vila-seca / Salou WWTP (Tarragona) increased from 1. 37 hm3 in 2013 and 2.4 hm3 in 2014 to 3.5 hm3 in 2015.
The product water from the Tarragona and Vila-seca / Salou WWTPs undergoes reclamation treatment followed by double osmosis to bring its quality to the standards required by companies based on the Tarragona petrochemical industrial park.
As can be seen from the graph, the highest volume of reclaimed water was achieved in 2007 and 2008, coinciding with the serious drought that affected the entire country. In subsequent years, which were generally wetter, greater production of reclaimed water was unnecessary and the increase in reclaimed water production has been used for industrial purpsoses, thereby freeing up resources for domestic supply.