Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water

The intoDBP project brings together relevant entities in the field of drinking water from all over the country in Girona

Thursday, 18 January 2024

Considering that climate forecasts anticipate increasingly frequent and longer-lasting drought episodes in the Mediterranean region, it is imperative to look for alternative sources of drinking water to improve climate resilience with respect to this resource. Solutions such as water regeneration, aquifer recharge and desalination are already very mature and must be implemented. In this context, new challenges arise, such as the need to investigate substances generated by the same treatment, such as disinfection by-products, which may be different from those traditionally generated when water is collected from natural reservoirs.

Following this line of work, Girona has hosted a meeting of the panel of experts within the European intoDBP project, coordinated by the Catalan Water Research Institute (ICRA-CERCA) . A project that aims to create innovative tools and strategies to improve water quality management for safe human use and a protected environment, focusing on disinfection by-products. Another objective of the project is also to promote the use of tap water as opposed to bottled water.

Entities such as the Catalan Water Agency, CatSalut, Aigües de Barcelona, ​​Catalan Water Partnership, University of Girona (LEQUIA), Dileka, Createch360, the Terrassa Water Observatory, Consorci d Costa Brava and Girona waters (CACBGi), Ter Water Cycle (CATSA) and Meteocat.

As part of the meeting, the progress achieved during the first year of research was presented, in addition to gathering opinions from the different actors involved. Among the topics discussed are the current regulation, the future of drinking water treatment and management and strategies to increase the use of tap water by citizens compared to bottled water. Tap water is the safest, most economical and ecological option. Even so, surveys show that only 50% of citizens use this as a source of drinking water. In Girona, the effort, the involvement and the advanced technology that we have in our country, which guarantees us a safe water supply, has once again been shown. Although, from time to time, the taste could be improved, its safety is indisputable.

Active participation of the community

In the intoDBP project, researchers, small and large companies, experts in communication and public services come together to generate interdisciplinary solutions, which generate a renewed perspective on drinking water monitoring, support decision-making and governance and increase the resilience of the system. In this sense, one of the main points of the project are the communication activities, focused on the active participation of the community of practice, which includes interested public bodies, water service companies, and private companies among others. The main method of communication consists of the implementation of panels of interested parties of the case studies investigated in the project.

Maria José Farré from ICRA-CERCA coordinates the four-year intoDBP project with a team made up of partners from Spain, Ireland, Cyprus, Italy, Belgium, Israel, Austria, USA and Australia. Among the Spanish partners who have met in Girona are the entities CEAB-CSIC, ISGlobal, S::can Iberia SL, ATL and the Isabel II Canal.