SUEZ España and Medi XXI GSA to protect populated areas from forest fires with reclaimed water

Thanks to water reuse, this initiative will also contribute to the mitigation of the effects of the climate emergency

SUEZ España and Medi XXI GSA will carry out joint projects to protect populated areas from forest fires, using reclaimed water from the population centres themselves. Recycling this water will provide a water resource for fire prevention, even in areas potentially exposed to periods of drought.

This water will be used for the creation of green firebreaks through the application of prescribed irrigation. The objective is to create protective areas of high environmental and scenic value around areas susceptible to fire, whilst also contributing to greenhouse gas sequestration, reducing temperatures, protecting against soil erosion and facilitating the infiltration of water to recharge aquifers. Through these actions, and within the framework of their business development and sustainable development strategies, the two companies are seeking to make a joint contribution to the mitigation of the effects of climate change associated with forest fires, whilst also fighting against the desertisation process to which a large portion of mainland Spain is exposed.

How will this solution to fight forest fires be implemented?

The proposed solution involves reclaiming the wastewater generated in the populated areas through advanced treatment processes, thereby enabling it to be used to protect against forest fires. Thanks to these treatment processes, the reclaimed water can be fed to the water infrastructure composed of SIDEINFO® cannons, which are installed homogenously in key areas to form a defensive ring around homes. At times of maximum forest fire alert, the system is activated as a preventive measure to cool and moisten the forest mass, thus reducing the risk of fire. In the event of a fire, the cannons are activated to provide support to terrestrial emergency service units.

All these actions are complemented by forest vegetation management and citizen education in emergencies and self-protection. In this way, they form a key element of the overall solution.

A system already up-and-running

The largest jointly-developed system of this type currently installed is located in the town of Torrent in Valencia. It has the capacity to simultaneously pump 15,000 litres of water per minute (equivalent to the discharge per minute of two and a half amphibious aircraft), making it one of the world’s largest forest fire protection systems. The system features in the Spanish Catalogue of Good City Practices for a More Sustainable Future, and has received the United Nations Dubai International Best Practices Award for Sustainable Development. The system is also scheduled to be installed in the area of Campamento del Pinar de Tamadaba, in the Canary Islands, within the framework of a project promoted by the Gran Canaria Island Council.