Study Visit on Water Quality and Quantity Monitoring Issues

Dec 12, 2016 to Dec 16, 2016
  • Day 1
    (ZIP archive | 5.56 Mb)
  • Day 2
    (ZIP archive | 19.43 Mb)
  • Day 3
    (ZIP archive | 1.72 Mb)
  • Day 4
    (ZIP archive | 4.95 Mb)
  • Day 5
    (ZIP archive | 7.37 Mb)
As part of the WATER POrT project component (Action A1.2, a cluster dedicated to water resources protection), the project team — with the support of the environmental assessment and management company Cimera Estudios Aplicados — organised a study visit in Spain on water quality and quantity monitoring issues.

The study visit provided opportunities to investigate and discuss issues related to the monitoring of water quality and quantity, as well as for the exchange of knowledge and best practices between Europe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. 

The study visit combined hands-on work with discussions about the benefits of the environmental monitoring of water resources. Participants also engaged in inter-institutional and inter-sectoral dialogue on issues related to monitoring and water management.

The event brought together more than 20 young water professionals and representatives of national water authorities from Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia whose work involves monitoring and data processing on a regular basis. During the week participants met with several Spanish national and regional authorities, starting with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment. Experts working at the Sub-directorate General for Integrated Management of the Public Hydraulic Domain outlined how they carry out water planning and water management across the country using a tiered approach that links national, regional and local actors. The group then visited the Tajo River Basin Confederation — one of the eight river basin administrations in Spain — to learn about the function of the Automatic Hydrological Information System SAIH. This system comprises networks for surface water and groundwater monitoring. As extreme hydrological events, such as floods and droughts, are quite common, the SAIH makes possible interventions in real time to control increases in the level and flow rate of rivers and reservoirs, while automatically alerting areas at risk of flooding.

The meeting at the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) focused on hydrogeology and environmental quality. The institute’s activities include assessing the available and useable groundwater resources and their natural quality. Staff also create and study scenarios for rationalising the use of these resources and for exploiting them without affecting the associated ecosystems.

The visit to the Center for Studies and Experimentation on Public Works (CEDEX), where data on natural resources are investigated and managed, was complemented by a fascinating meeting at the headquarters of the water management company Canal de Isabel II (CYII), Madrid, and to one of its wastewater treatment plants. The CYII is responsible for managing the entire water cycle within the Madrid region, including water sourcing, purification, quality control, transportation, distribution and wastewater treatment. The company channels the treated water to various rivers as well as public parks and gardens.

On the fourth day of the study visit, participants travelled to Valencia to visit the Acequia Real del Jucar, a community-operated watercourse used for irrigation purposes. Since the 13th century, the Acequia Real del Jucar has ensured the fair, orderly and sustainable distribution of the waters of the Jucar River for irrigation purposes. Nowadays, it serves more than 25,000 land users in 20 municipalities and supports the community’s agricultural economy.

The increasingly extreme climatic conditions that Spain is experiencing, especially in its southern territories, are putting a progressive strain on the available water resources. Participants highlighted similarities between the Spanish situation and what is happening in their own countries and across a significant proportion of the MENA region.

At the same time, participants identified several best practices that could be replicated in their countries, such as enhancing the automated control of crucial water facilities in order to rationalise the use of water resources; installing real-time monitoring equipment and sharing data across water supply systems, reservoirs and wastewater treatment plants; and nurturing horizontal collaboration and coordination between different institutions involved in integrated water resources management.

The outcomes of the study visit have contributed to fine-tuning the forthcoming activities and deliverables of WATER POrT project component Action A1.2. These include tailored trainings on water monitoring at demonstration sites in Tunisia and Jordan, as well as a guidance document for water monitoring techniques applicable in the MENA region and a protocol for data processing and for the exchange of hydrological, meteorological and water quality data.

Photo gallery of the study visit on water quality and quantity monitoring issues


Tags: Training