Highlights from the Water Tour

Posted on December 13, 2010

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Participants Zaragoza Water TourReport by Martina Zambrano
  1. Visit Summary:Water supply in Zaragoza is abstracted from the Rio Ebro via the Imperial Canal on the south bank of the river, so that the drinking water plant in Zaragoza collects the water from the Ebro river and the Imperial canal and distributes it to several tanks allocated in the city.
    The drinking water network of Zaragoza has been completely rehabilitated and, in the treatment plant, water is submitted to an improved purification process which includes the use of active carbon in order to get a better treated water safe for human consumption.
  2. Visit summary:The Expo site

    Expo 2008 has involved all sorts of improvements and socio-economical changes. The conviction that the only kind of possible development was sustainable development was the Expo focus, which consisted of managing resources in such a way that life quality was improved without detriment to the interests and needs of future generations. This desire for modernisation includes also a very big interest in new technologies, enhancing people’s skills and preparation, fomenting a favourable culture to innovation and technological progress, promoting greater relationships between educational and manufacturing systems. This is why Zaragoza is a city which been completely and totally transformed, thanks to new infrastructures, green areas, a river beach, leisure facilities and cultural centres. The Expo modern architecture is really surprising and its most impressive building is the glass designed the Water Tower which offers incredible views of the city and it is destined to become a museum. The Expo site, with its 160,000 square metres, is going to be the home of a new modern business park with several shop areas, open-air shows and markets, as well as a deck ideal for looking out over the garden areas that the pavilions are to have. 

    The Expo Riverside

    During the Expo, Zaragoza gave its river value again, rediscovering it entirely and restoring the Imperial Canal, anyway water has been always a very important issue in Zaragoza and it has been used as a driving force to  make the city better. The river banks have been improved preserving the environmental quality of a natural landskape and giving always a good accessibility to the river. An example of this beneficial progress is the new Metropolitan Water Park: a very big area which includes water canal for kayaking and rafting and a golf course for playing and walking. Nearby, there is also a river beach, a botanical garden and even a jetty for trips on the canal. Nowadays the banks of the Ebro River have become the perfect place for cycling and walking.

  3. Visit summary:
    The Wastewater Treatment Plant of La Cartuja has a treatment capacity of 4.5 cubic meters per second and has been built with the environment in mind in order to minimize its impact. Wastewater contains a lot of pollutant products and its treatment is as follows: physical, chemical and disinfection, and active carbon to avoid flavours and smells. Anyway, the integral water cycle starts in the Ebro river, therefore Zaragoza wants to protect it, raising public awareness in order to promote responsible consumption of water.
  4. Participants’ opinion:Participants said they have learned how does the treatment plant of Zaragoza works and how water quality has been improved in the last 10 years. They enjoyed the event and found the visit to the Expo site and to the Wastewater Treatment plant very interesting.The questions asked were the following:

    Q: Is the chlorination process effective?
    A: Chlorine is used to disinfect water, after the chlorination process water is ready to be supplied to the consumers.

    Q: Why was it impossible before to bath in the river?
    A: Water quality was not good and the river was difficult to access due to a lack of maintenance.

    Q: Does the improved network still have water losses?
    A: Yes, but now they are really small.

    Q: Which is the water losses percentage?
    A: Water losses amount to 15% of Zaragoza’s total supply system.

Other remarks:

Drinking water from the Pyrenees.

The population of Zaragoza has been increasing in the last years, therefore the city has been looking for sustainable solution.

New water storage facilities have been built recently near the water treatment plant of Zaragoza to receive water from the Pyrenees.

Nowadays water pipes brings water from the Pyrenees allowing that 70% of the population of Aragon benefit of good drinking-water quality. With this, water salinity decreased by 68% and the amount of chemical products needed for water purification was reduced significantly.

Zaragoza is now a reference point for cooperative efforts and actions in regions that need drinking water, becoming a showcase for water-related sectors of the economy, as well as those involving clean energy, treatment technologies and sanitation. Aragon is becoming the world leader in actions related to water management in urban environment, agriculture and industry, as well as in the relationship of water management to health and leisure.

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