On September 25, our III SUWANU EUROPE Workshop on tools for the use of reclaimed water in agriculture took place in Malaga. Despite the current crisis we are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this third edition could finally be held. This time it was a hybrid event broadcast live from YouTube.
The workshop, which was held as a parallel event within the Smart Agrifood Summit fair, was attended by great experts and recognized professionals from the water and agriculture sector. The event had around 50 attendees between face-to-face and virtual.
Rafael Casielles, general coordinator of SUWANU EUROPE and Bioazul project manager, was the presenter and the person who led the event. The workshop started with an opening table made up of Ricardo Ruiz, Deputy Director General of Planning and Water Resources of the Junta de Andalucía; Concha Marcuello, head of the Support Unit for the General Water Directorate of the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge; Emilio Rodríguez, head of the plans and studies area of the hydrological planning office of the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation, Alberto Pérez, mayor of the Algarrobo City Council; and Antonia Lorenzo, CEO and director of R + D + i at Bioazul. All agreed on the commitment that all administrations and institutions must make to support the use of reclaimed water, as well as raise awareness and help the communities of irrigators and farmers.
After this introduction, Rafael Casielles presented the SUWANU EUROPE project as well as the work carried out so far. Rafael announced some of the project's results such as the compilation of initiatives and success stories in the use of reclaimed water that serve as a guide for other regions. He also presented the next virtual teaching platform where there will be different training packages with audiovisual material and virtual classes taught by the members of the project consortium to share in this way all the information and knowledge collected so far.
The next guest of the workshop was Pedro Simón, Technical Director of ESAMUR (Entity of Sanitation and Wastewater Treatment of the Region of Murcia). He was one of the most anticipated speakers due to the success of his intervention in the first edition of the SUWANU EUROPE workshop. On this occasion, Pedro Simón presented the New European Regulation on the use of reclaimed water that came into force last May 2020 and for which he calls for greater shared responsibility between the different actors, including also the end user. He also presented the success story of the Murcia region, a pioneer in the use of these unconventional water resources. Finally, he explained how how to develop an adequate irrigation plan, one of the new requirements of the European Regulation.
The day continued with the intervention of Ricardo Ruiz, deputy director of planning and Water Resources of the Junta de Andalucía, who presented the Andalusian Water Pact. The main objective of this pact is to promote the reuse of regenerated wastewater for agricultural use, golf courses and others, providing existing and future wastewater treatment facilities with efficient and sustainable systems that allow the obtaining of reclaimed water. with the required quality. This pact is in the third phase in which the working document of the pact has been presented to the Collegiate bodies of Water Participation in Andalusia and once it is reviewed the first draft will be obtained.
After this intervention, it was the turn of Emilio Rodríguez, head of the plans and studies area of the hydrological planning office of the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation. His presentation focused on the licenses for the use of reclaimed water in the Guadalquivir. Emilio reviewed the measures adopted over the years to promote the use of these waters and also presented the objectives for a plan to use reclaimed waters.
Later, M. Remedios Romero, CSIC-IHSM La Mayora researcher, presented us with the results of the RichWater project and the effects that regenerated water produces on crops. Her role in this project was to endorse the agronomic studies carried out on crops that had been irrigated with reclaimed water. She highlighted above all the advantages and potential of these water resources compared to conventional ones, such as a greater contribution of nutrients.
The last speaker at this workshop was Antonio Montes, a technician from the Tintín Irrigation Community in the town of Montilla (Córdoba). Antonio presented the results and activities carried out in the REUTIVAR project, whose objective was the development of a sustainable olive grove irrigation model for rural areas of Andalusia, integrating irrigation with reclaimed water.
The workshop ended with a round table to discuss the REGENERA Plan. The table, moderated by Alfonso Expósito (researcher of WEARE group), was made up of the Spanish partners of the SUWANU EUROPE consortium: Julio Berbel (UCO), David Hernández (FENACORE), Rafael Casielles (Bioazul) and Xana Rodríguez (CECU). Each of them presented one of the blocks that make up the REGENERA Plan and asked the public several questions through the Ahaslides application to find out their opinion and discuss it.
In general, from the Spanish consortium of SUWANU EUROPE we are very happy with the great acceptance and participation that the workshop had despite the difficult situation we are experiencing due to COVID-19. We hope that more conferences like this can be held to discuss and share more knowledge and experiences in the use of reclaimed water.