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Back to the Mediterranean Coast

Back in Spain, Cartagena. FutureWater is touching ground here, and several researchers from the Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena are involved.  I´m currently working on the following two EU-funded research projects:

Course on Public Domain Models for Water-Food-Climate

FutureWater will be organizing a course on “Application of Public Domain Models for Water, Food and Climate Studies”, in Wageningen, Netherlands, this summer. This course is geared towards water professionals working in developed and developing countries. The course will cover the essentials of hydrology, crop growth and climate change modeling concepts to support decision making and hands-on exercises to become familiar with the models. The lectures and exercises do not require extensive modeling background. More experienced professionals will have the opportunity to work with their own data during the exercises. More in brochure.

Groundwater management plan Catalonia

During the yearly event on water engineering in Madrid,  this [Spanish] report was presented on the groundwater management plan of an aquifer with large withdrawals for industrial and urban use close to Barcelona. We used Modflow for the modelling work. The report emphasizes the role of the aquifer as a regulating natural reservoir.

On hydraulic bureaucracy in Spain

If you’re interested in Spanish hydro-politics and history, have a look at the article called “Agua para todos”: The new regionalist hydraulic paradigm in Spain” by Elena Lopez-Gunn (Computense University of Madrid). It can be found in the open-access journal Water Alternatives. Most of the current (October 2009) issue of  is devoted to Hydraulic Bureaucracies: Flows of Water, Flows of Power. You can download the paper for free: it concerns a very thorough and balanced review on water management in Spain. Highly recommendable.

“Spain is nowadays a hotbed of experimentation in terms of water policy along territorial lines, where strong innovations are taking place in terms of a highly dynamic and innovative regulatory system, of policy principles, and coordination/negotiations across scales (EU, national and regional). The value of water becomes embroiled in a political territorial process of negotiation over access to water, and conflicting relationships between scales (regional versus state) and uses (traditional farming versus intensive productive farming; rural versus urban; old uses like agriculture versus new uses like golf courses) and resources (old water versus new water and water transfers versus desalinated and recycled water), in new and constantly negotiated spatial water configurations.”

A new challenge

I started working for the research-based consulting company FutureWater.  I’m excited as it will allow me to work together with people from universities, research institutes and basin organizations: combining science with practical solutions. Just what I searched for. For the moment I’m still living in Barcelona, working on a project in Africa and on some opportunities here in Spain.

Si tienes interés en colaborar con una empresa que se dedica a proyectos punteros de investigación y consultoría, y relacionados con la gestión de agua, hidrología, sequia, cambio climático, etc, no dudes en contactarme.

Exploring and planning groundwater resources

About 5% of the drinking water for the Barcelona district comes from groundwater resources. In some areas significant amounts of water are pumped up for industrial and agricultural purposes. This is for example the case in the largest internal catchment of Catalonia that belongs to the fully reservoir-controlled Llobregat river. Currently I’m working on a groundwater management plan for the Catalonian Water Agency of a highly industrialized area in this catchment with increasing future demands. The main purpose of this plan is to provide a planning and regulatory framework that aims to ensure the allocation and use of the available groundwater resources.

Assesing alluvial fan activity

Alluvial fan in La GuinguetaThe study area is a widening of a glacial valley in the Pyrenees. During the Holocene, the valley filled up with lacustrine and fluvial sediments behind the moraines. Various alluvial fans mound on the floodplain that form a risc for the villages and infrastructure on and close to the fans. Besides, what already happenend in the past, a debris-flow event can possibly cut off the main stream in the valley. This would flood the upstream town and might cause a sudden breakthrough of the dam with its consequences downstream. (more…)

Reducing impact of torrential rains on river water quality

Combined Sewer OverflowThis project assesses how increasing population and changing landuse of a number of towns in a region of Catalonia influence the water quality of the main river through the possible discharges from the combined sewer systems (CSO) to the environment in case of high intensity rainfall events. This study involves an evaluation of future developments in the region, field analysis of the concerned network components and modelling using a sanitation model Infoworks that also accounts for water quality. The general aim of the study is to reduce the inflow of contaminants in surface waters during torrential rainfall events in order to comply with the European Water Framework Directive.