14/04/2023

Conseller Nadal: "ICRA-CERCA's research on the water cycle is strategic for the Government"

- The Minister for Research and Universities defends that the "sense of science" are contributions such as those of the Girona center thanks to which "we have more margin to face the context of current drought and offer convincing answers"

- ICRA-CERCA participates in various research projects focused on implementing measures to manage the problem of drought.

The Minister for Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal i Farreras, visited this morning the headquarters of the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA-CERCA), a research center specializing in the study of the water cycle and its management. Nadal highlighted "ICRA-CERCA's search for water, this scarce resource and currently the capital for our country and a large part of the Mediterranean basin, is strategic for the Government".

Along these lines, the head of Research and Universities has stressed that “ICRA-CERCA has been working on drought research for almost 15 years, anticipating a problem that is growing rapidly. Thanks to this scientific contribution, we now have a greater margin to face the context of current water scarcity and offer convincing answers. This is the meaning of science.

Nadal has emphasized that the Department of Research and University follows “very closely the activity of our research centers. As in the case of many universities and research centers, its excellence is often ahead of the Government's ability to contribute resources, but our commitment is to invest more and more in reversing the years of cuts. The best thing a government that believes in the future of its country can do is invest in knowledge.

For his part, the director of ICRA-CERCA, Damià Barceló i Cullerès, recalled that "the objective of the Institute since its foundation has been focused on drought and in the Mediterranean area, helping with our research to combat drought and providing a value that later Catalan companies can turn into innovation and sell all over the world”.

Within the framework of the visit to ICRA-CERCA, the minister held a working meeting with the management of the center, headed by director Barceló. Nadal has had the opportunity to see first-hand some of the main lines of research carried out, especially those related to the optimization of water management in the context of drought. Once the meeting was over, the minister toured various scientific facilities at the center, such as the pilot plant laboratory for wastewater treatment, the mass spectrometry and biological and molecular techniques units or the Mesocosmos de ríos facility experimental.

Search of the optimization of water management

The Catalan Institute for Water Research is a CERCA research center focused on research and knowledge transfer on the analysis, improvement and management of water, especially in relation to ecosystems and human activities. Located in the Science and Technology Park of the University of Girona (UdG), the center began its scientific activity in 2009 and its board of trustees is made up of the Generalitat of Catalonia, the UdG and the Catalan Water Agency (ACA).

Among the various lines of research of ICRA-CERCA, the participation in three international projects aimed at implementing measures to manage the problem of drought of special importance in the current context stands out. All three focus on the study of treatment and regeneration alternatives for grey, residual and storm water, through nature-based systems to increase reuse.

The MULTISOURCE project investigates innovative tools based on the treatment, storage and reuse of urban water using green walls and with the development of a tool to help the selection of nature-based technologies (NBS). HYDROUSA is focused on the search for alternatives for the treatment and reuse of water on Mediterranean islands, especially in organic micro-pollutants in water, sun, crops to guarantee the safety of reclaimed water. Finally, the ReUseMP3 project develops an assistance tool for the optimized planning of reclaimed water networks in cities (ReWat) for centralized, decentralized or semi-decentralized treatment and reuse scenarios.

In addition, it should be noted that ICRA-CERCA has developed a tool to select the best tertiary and advanced treatment alternatives for urban sewage treatment plants and evaluate their implementation based on environmental, economic and social criteria. This tool has been implemented within the framework of the ACA-funded SUGGEREIX* project.

Apart from these lines of research, ICRA-CERCA has active projects also related to the optimization of water management, such as LIFE-RECYCLO for recycling wastewater from laundries with an advanced oxidation process; inventWater for the development of innovative forecasting tools to adapt water quality management to a new climate; o DRYvER, for the maintenance of biodiversity, functional integrity and ecosystem services in intermittent basins.

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