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arid regions; consultation; NGO; participation;
Spain; sustainable development; water
conservation; water demand management.
Chris Shirley-Smith Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering, Imperial College,
London, UK. Email: c.shirley-
This paper reviews the signi\ufb01cant developments in water management that have occurred in Zaragoza, Spain in recent years. Action to achieve more sustainable water management was initiated by a local nongovernmental organisation (Ecodes) persuading and assisting the municipality to improve its delivery performance. Key successes, made by all sectors of the community, include the reduction of water use in the City by 1600 ML/year since 1995 despite signi\ufb01cant population growth. The sustainability of the campaign is assessed within a recently devised PESTER framework which systematically addresses the key political, economic, social, technical, environmental and regulatory factors. This highlighted that a workable tariff system has now been achieved which is arguably fair to all, and that a balance has been achieved between local and nationally applicable water law. The main conclusion is that in order to achieve signi\ufb01cant progress, it is vital to harmonise the energies, \ufb01nances and above all commitment of all the main stakeholders.
un in North East Spain. It lies at a natural cross roads of the ancient North/ South and West/East trade routes, and is situated on the South bank of the River Ebro which for millennia has provided the city with water supply, sewage disposal and is a main artery of communication.
Zaragoza has ancient roots in the forti\ufb01ed Roman trading settlement and port of Caesaraugusta. The exten- sive Roman architectural remains of the original city demonstrate clear evidence of a sophisticated supply of clean water imported through lead pipes over aqueducts across the Ebro, and elaborate storm and capacious foul water subterranean drainage systems leading back into the river from the public open spaces and merchants\u2019 villas. The City has always had close links with the River, and because the ambient climate is relatively arid, the notion of water has always been central to the life and culture of Zaragoza.
Most issues concerning water management are decided at Provincial rather than national level in Spain and the complexity of water law re\ufb02ects that variety of water regimes.
on is the next level of legislative administration, which although not having signi\ufb01cant direct intervention, ex- ercises an important local in\ufb02uence over the distribution of water resources in this region of Spain.
The water supply and sewage systems of Zaragoza are now owned and operated by the Municipal Council (Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza). Since 1993 the main waste water treatment plant downstream at La Cartuja has been operated by a private company, under a 25 year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract.
on Ecolog\u00b4\u0131a y Desarrollo (Ecodes), a non- governmental organisation (NGO) was founded in 1992 to address a range of environmental problems around Zaragoza in response to the Local Agenda 21 (LA21) proposals framed at the Environmental Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In 1996 Ecodes adopted the theme of \u2018Water\u2019 and received speci\ufb01c funding from the European \u2018LIFE\u2019 Programme to \u2018show that it is possible to resolve the problems of water scarcity with an alternative approach that is cheaper, more ecological, speedier and without social con\ufb02icts: increasing ef\ufb01ciency in its use\u2019 (Vi\u02dc
on (see Fig. 1) built between 1776 and 1790 which brings raw water from an abstraction point at Fontellas, about 80 km up the Ebro, into the main treat- ment and distribution complex in the southwest part of Zaragoza. Open reservoirs contain approximately a day\u2019s supply of treated water. The exposed nature of the treated water reservoirs is recognised as a problem (see Table 1) and is being addressed. Much of the inner city water distribution infrastructure was installed around 1910, with the next largest single network expansion occurring during the 1960s.
new pipeline from a dammed lake (Lake Yesa) in the Pyrenees Mountains and improvements in local storage. This is expected to bring long-term improvements in both the quality of water and the security of supply, but which could also lead to a 10\u201315% price increase for water to pay for the capital costs. This is based on the assumption that there will be a 50% EU grant towards the project. In the interim, the focus is on water conservation. A resume of the tariff structure for 2007 can be found in Appendix 1. This illustrates the dif\ufb01cult balance which has to be struck between providing water which is affordable for all with the requirement to raise signi\ufb01cant revenue for the improvements needed.
the Municipality and other players to participate in a campaign to save water and improve the service. Ecodes identi\ufb01ed three fundamental issues to be addressed to improve the management of water in the City:
(1)The price of water was too cheap.
(2)The quality of the water was poor.
(3)The accumulated lack of investment in maintenance
of the infrastructure over time was a signi\ufb01cant critical factor in the 24% leakage/unaccounted water from the network (Table 2).
The relationship between Ecodes and Zaragoza Council (Environment Department) dates back to 1996/1997 when the Ayuntamiento signed a letter of support for the Ecodes LIFE bid, and which, once it was successful, the Council have continued to underwrite, but without direct \ufb01nancial risk to themselves. A coordinating committee drawn from technical staff across the relevant Council services was formed. This was known as the Comit\u00b4
on y Seguimiento which then prepared the \u2018Plan to Improve the Management and Quality of the Water Supply\u2019. This \u2018Plan\u2019 was developed against a back- drop in Spain of increasing incidences of drought which formed drivers for controversial proposals for bulk water transfer between river basins and pressure from the in\ufb02uential tourist and agricultural industries to provide them with more water. The requirement to source new bulk supplies of water therefore has been a pre-occupa- tion with the Council for a number of years.
on\u2019 was predominantly funded by the LIFE grant. Having identi\ufb01ed the problems, and recognised that the challenge would have to be sustained over the long term, the \ufb01rst phase of the project \u2018Zarago- za, Water Saving City: small steps, great solutions\u2019 (Vi\u02dc
The results of this campaign were successful, achieving an average reduction in water use from 113 L/h/day in 1996 to 104 L/h/day in 2000 despite an overall steady increase in population of the City by some 20 000 over the same period. This reduction \u2013 recording only internal domestic consumption (i.e., for human requirements in the home and at some work places) \u2013 saved some 12 ML over the 2-year period. The saving represented 5.6% of annual domestic consumption (see Figure 2).
The campaign was effective not only in the home. Almost 70% of the educational establishments in Zaragoza partici- pated in the \u2018Ahorradora\u2019 (water saving) scheme which would account for a signi\ufb01cant proportion of the reduction observed. The citizens themselves responded positively by changing their personal consumption habits, although Vi\u02dc
This \u2018inspirational\u2019 phase in\ufb02uenced the City Council to reform its own practices with regard to water and wastewater provision. A summary of the assessment of the work which was required and the problems facing the Council, together with some of the solutions adopted during the period 1995\u20132005 are given in Table 1. This resum\u00b4
e also illustrates that the Council were well aware of the problems and were beginning to take steps to address the situation to improve quantity and quality.
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