PROSIM: Water management and economics at the heart of the study visit to Murcia in Spain!
The PROSIM team was reunited the second week of May in Murcia (Spain) as part of the activity “Implementation of study visit on mixed waters solutions in Spain for PPs” organised by PROSIM project partner, the Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS - CSIC). The latter represents one of the most relevant and prestigious research centres in terms of agriculture, at a European and Global level. They do proactive work and research on agricultural and irrigation practices within the region of Murcia, considered to be one of the most productive and industrialised regions for agriculture and often referred to as “Europe’s orchard”.
During this week, the project team composed of representatives of ICU (Istituto per la Cooperazione Universitaria, Italy), NARC (National Agriculture Research Center, Jordan), DGGREE (Direction Génerale du Genie Rural et Exploitation des Eaux, Tunisia) and the associated partner to the project, INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Morocco), visited water treatment plants around the region, irrigation communities managing and optimising water supplies for farmers, production sites to see the type of technologies used and the local enterprise RIEGOS Y TECNOLOGÍA, S.L. that will support project partners in the implementation of the Decision Support Systems (DSS) for mixing water, one of the nine technologies included in PROSIM.
The first on field visit took place in the Wastewaters Treatment Plant (WWTP) of Molina del Segura and in the long-term research experimental farm on salty reclaimed water of CEBAS in Campotejar (Murcia), specialised in fruit trees (citrus).
The participants visited the WWTP where the Manager explained that the wastewaters is treated through a conventional activated sludge with ultraviolet tertiary treatment.
The result of this treatment is a very high-quality water suitable for agricultural use. On the other hand, the sludge obtained during the water purification process is treated for later use as fertiliser for the soil. Afterwards, this water mixed with other different qualities of waters will be used for irrigating CEBAS experimental farm.
The CEBAS experimental plot is conducted at a commercial orchard located in Campotejar (Murcia) Spain. The experimental plot of 1 ha is cultivated with 10-year young `Star Ruby´ grapefruit trees grafted on Macrophylla rootstock.
The irrigation head is equipped and supplied with two water sources; the first (treated water) pumped from the Tajo-Segura water transfer and the second water sources (reused water) pumped from the “North of Molina de Segura” WWTP.
During the visit of the experimental farm, the participants discussed with local stakeholders about the different levels of salinity they have to cope with in their respective countries, the quality of the fruits produced under these circumstances and possible solutions to low the water salinity and improve fruit’s quality and production.
The group also visited old lagoons which nowadays only temporarily store the treated wastewater from the plant and are recovered as wetlands. This visit allowed them to see the possibility of using treated wastewater to recover wetlands and how fauna and flora adapted perfectly to this quality of water.