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Managed Aquifer Recharge At Llobregat Valley (Ne Spain)

Thursday 8 September 2016

Field trip leaders:
  • Sara Figueras (Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya)
  • Victòria Colomer (Agència Catalana de l’Aigua)


This field trip will demonstrate the different strategies developed for water supply to around 3 million of citizens leaving in Barcelona metropolitan area. Due to the Mediterranean climate, the natural water resource availability can sometimes be lower than the water demand in the area. This situation leads to the need to find alternative resources in order to ensure the potable water supply in the entire water network. The Llobregat Delta Aquifer has historically been a strategic water supply resource for the Barcelona metropolitan area. The use of river water combined with the exploitation of groundwater resources during dry periods has enabled the demographic and economic growth of the Barcelona area during the last fifty years. The aquifer overexploitation has entailed the decrease of groundwater level and the consequent seawater intrusion. The main consequences have been the salinization of several wells and the deterioration of the groundwater quality. For overturning this effect an artificial aquifer recharge system to improve the quality and quantity of water has been implemented using recharge wells and superficial infiltration ponds. Moreover, a hydraulic barrier against saltwater intrusion has been installed in the coast.
  • Morning: Visit to Water Museum and explanation of the evolution of water supply infrastructures. Visit to the recharge system of Sant Vicent dels Horts where many hydrological geochemical and geophysical surveys have been conducted.
  • Afternoon: Return to Barcelona visiting the waste water treatment plant and the hydraulic barrier against saltwater intrusion in El Prat de Llobregat Delta. The trip will end in the F.C. Barcelona Camp Nou stadium to know the engineering system for grass irrigation and a geophysics survey carried out as a contribution on the seismic hazard studies done in Barcelona city.


Preliminary Programme
08:45 Registration
09:00 Departure from “Palau de Congressos de Catalunya” 
Guided visit to a contemporary museum devoted to water, intended to promote knowledge and values through a living, learning and leisure experience. In this site, we will know the history of Barcelona water supply and the history about the exploitation of Llobregat aquifers.


Visit of an artificial aquifer recharge system located in the low Llobregat Delta.  The system, is one of the pioneer zones in Spain and was designed to receive water from the Llobregat River and reused water from El Prat de Llobregat treatment plant. It includes recharge wells and decantation and infiltration ponds. Since 2009 the ponds have been exploited and operated. The geophysical studies conducted in the area have been useful to evaluate the relation between the electrical resistivity and the hydraulic parameters besides to monitor the  non-saturated to saturated soil process after the beginning of the infiltration.

14:00 LUNCH at Sant Vicenç dels Horts
This plant is  one of the largest in Europe, traits wastewater from 2 Mhab and 100 Mm3/y. After a biological treatment with removal nutrients in addition to ultrafiltration and osmosis processes, reclaimed water can be injected into the aquifer through a hydraulic barrier to prevent the saline intrusion. In this site, environmental uses of water, engineering of the treatment plant and geophysical studies in the injection and control wells will be presented.
The visit of this site focuses to two parts:
  1. Geophysics in the Camp Nou: a contribution to the local seismic hazard studies in Barcelona.
  2. Grass and water irrigation engineering on the Camp Nou. Explanation by representative of Futbol Club Barcelona technical staff.

At the end of this site, you can visit the Camp Nou installation.