30 years of water reuse in Spain. Looking back to tackle the future

  • Amando Borge (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Spain is a country with heterogeneous regimes of precipitations, both in space and time. Generally, while the average rainfall values in the northwest are higher than 1.000mm per year, in the southeast average rainfall drops lower than 200mm per year. In addition, the studies of rainfall variations due to Climate Change give Spain reductions of around 20% for the near future. Although Spain is already one of the European countries with the highest water stress levels (PWC, 2014), this trends show the necessity to foresee the adaption to this new situation.

Since long ago, Spain has well-established plans for demand management and network efficiency. This has caused the decline in domestic water consumption up to 25% in the 2000-2013 period (INE, 2015). In addition, desalination plants have been built with a total capacity of more than 500hm3/year. However, high energy prices, as well as other factors, have implied a brake in their implementation or underutilisation.

European Directives 91/272 (Urban Wastewater) and 2000/60 (Water Framework) have obligated European countries to increment substantially their wastewater treatment capacities. Currently in Spain, 84% of the wastewater is treated in conformity with the Directive 91/271 (Torres, 2014). Along with water demand management and desalination, treated wastewater presents an important additional capacity to equilibrate the water resources balance in Spain. The generalisation of water reuse, under stringent quality conditions, would suppose a substantial step forward to the adaption in some areas of Spain to the near future Climate Change scenario.
Period13 May 2016
Event titleIWA YWP European Conference: 2017
Event typeConference
LocationGdansk, PolandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • water reuse
  • European Directive