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4th Conference. Cycle on Waste

Groundwater An asset of Arag贸n: challenges and opportunities


4th Conference. Cycle on Waste Zaragoza, 2010

Groundwater An asset of Arag贸n: challenges and opportunities

Fundaci贸n Genes y Gentes www.fundaciongenesygentes.es

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FUNDACIÓN GENES Y GENTES IV Jornada. Ciclo sobre Residuos

Miércoles 1 de diciembre 2010 17.30 h. Centro Joaquín Roncal San Braulio, 5-7. Zaragoza

Aguas subterráneas Un bien de Aragón: retos y oportunidades Exposición por expertos. Coloquio con los asistentes


del Agua en Junio de 2009

Genes y Gentes, patrocinada por el Instituto Aragonés

llada?. “Pros y cons” organizada por la Fundación

de la Jornada 2009 sobre ”AGUA: ¿Del grifo o embote-

Se facilitará a cada uno de los asistentes, un ejemplar

Se otorgará un Diploma-Certificado de asistencia.

Notas

Entrada libre hasta completar el aforo (previa inscripción)

T. 976 232 100

info@fundaciongenesygentes.es

www.fundaciongenesygentes.es

Fundación Genes y Gentes

Información

Asistentes, Ponentes e Intervinientes en la Mesa Redonda A continuación y organizado sobre el contenido expuesto en la Jornada y Mesa Redonda. (Utilizar, por favor, el espacio adjunto, para facilitar la labor de redacción, coordinación, distribución y contestación a lo solicitado por el público asistente).

COLOQUIO

Intervienen los expertos: -Prof. Don David Chinarro Vadillo. Profesor y Responsable de Investigación de la Escuela de Ingeniería Informática de la Universidad San Jorge. -Doña Teresa Carceller. Geóloga. Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro. -Don José Antonio Martínez Founaud, Jefe del Área de Coordinación y Seguimiento de Planes. Instituto Aragonés del Agua. -Don Alberto Cobelo. Director del Área de Obras Hidráulicas. SODEMASA.

Acciones, retos y oportunidades en Aragón Presentación de los Intervinientes y Moderador: Don Francisco Aranda, Jefe del Área de Planificación y Desarrollo Competencial. Instituto Aragonés del Agua.

MESA REDONDA

Las aguas subterráneas en Aragón: un tesoro enterrado Don Miguel García Lapresta. Hidrogeólogo. Consultor en Gestión Integrada del Agua y Medio Ambiente.

El marco jurídico de las aguas subterráneas: Problemática actual Prof. Dr. Antonio Embid, Catedrático de Derecho Administrativo. Universidad de Zaragoza.

Agua invisible Prof. Dr. Fernando López-Vera, Catedrático de Hidrogeología. Facultad de Ciencias. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Presidente de la Fundación Española del Agua Subterránea “Noel Llopis”.

Dr. Don Fernando Otal, Secretario General del Instituto Aragonés del Agua.

PONENCIAS Presentación de los Ponentes y Moderador

“El porqué de la Jornada y Mesa Redonda”: Ilmo. Sr. Don Rafael Izquierdo. Director del Instituto Aragonés del Agua. Gobierno de Aragón.

Presentación por la Presidencia

Prof. Dr. Isaías Zarazaga. Catedrático Emérito de Genética. Universidad de Zaragoza. Presidente de la Fundación Genes y Gentes.

Apertura de la IV Jornada del Ciclo

Apertura por las Autoridades Patrocinadoras y Entidad Organizadora

Programa

San Braulio, 5-7. Zaragoza

Centro Joaquín Roncal

Miércoles 1 de diciembre 2010 17.30 h.

IV Jornada. Ciclo sobre Residuos

FUNDACIÓN GENES Y GENTES

Exposición por expertos. Coloquio con los asistentes

Un bien de Aragón: retos y oportunidades

Aguas subterráneas

Pregunta. (Escueta, directa y corta en su exposición, por favor):

Ponente/s a quien/es va dirigida/s la/s pregunta/s:

Institución o Entidad a la que pertenece:

Nombre y apellidos:

PREGUNTAS PARA EL COLOQUIO


Groundwater conference

Fundación Genes y Gentes

Summary Opening.

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Professor Isaías Zarazaga, Ph.D. President of Fundación Genes y Gentes.

Presentation.

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Mr. Rafael Izquierdo Aviñó. Director of the Instituto Aragonés del Agua. Department of the Environment. Government of Aragón.

Invisible water.

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Professor Fernando López-Vera, Ph.D. Professor of Hydrogeology. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. President of the Fundación Española del Agua Subterránea “Noel Llopis”.

The legal framework of groundwater. The current problem.

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Professor Antonio Embid, Ph.D. Professor of Administrative Law. School of Law. Universidad de Zaragoza.

Groundwater in Aragón: a buried treasure.

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Mr. Miguel García Lapresta. Director of ZETA AMALTEA SL.

Mathematical models applied to the karst aquifer of Fuenmayor (Guara Mountain Range).

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Professor David Chinarro Vadillo. Professor of Language Processors, Mobile Applications and Advanced Technologies at the School of Computer Engineering of the Universidad de San Jorge. Researcher on Systems Engineering applied to Karst Hydrology, in the Hostile Environments Technologies Group (GTE of I3A). Universidad de Zaragoza.

Groundwater management. 2010 Ebro River Basin Plan.

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Ms. Teresa Carceller Layel. Head of the Technical Service. Hydrogeology Speciality. Office of River Basin Management Planning. Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro.

Actions for the prevention of groundwater pollution carried out by the Instituto Aragonés del Agua.

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Mr. José Antonio Martínez Founaud. Head of the Plan Coordination and Follow-up Area. Instituto Aragonés del Agua. Government of Aragón.

Groundwater pollution: diffuse pollution from agriculture in Aragón. Mr. Alberto Cobelo Rodríguez. ICCP, Director of the Infrastructures Division. Sociedad de Desarrollo Medioambiental de Aragón (SODEMASA).

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Professor Isaías Zarazaga, Ph.D. President of Fundación Genes y Gentes.

“A world of worlds” we said on the subject of “Waste in Soil and Water” in a previous conference in this Programme of “Genetics, Environment and Society”. We couldn’t say anything different about groundwater today. Indeed, experts continue to remind us that groundwater –in this permanent climate of social and economic problems from which we suffer– continues to be a poorly understood and poorly cared-for resource, despite acknowledging its key role in water resources as a whole, its importance as a source of drinking water (ensuring that pollution is controlled) and its importance to increased assurance of water availability during droughts and in emergencies. And although it is an aspect that is slowly being corrected in industrialised nations, not without notable situations of management inefficiency, it persists in developing countries, where –still and for a long time– correct actions are even more necessary to achieve indispensable social improvements by adequately using limited economic resources and at the same time protecting aquifers, the environment and sustainability. Many authors of have studied groundwater from a wide variety of points of view. From geography and geology to geohydrology. From the legal sphere to the economic sphere. From the point of view of studying aquifers as a water reserve from which drinking water is obtained. In Spain, names such as Lucas Mallada, Llamas, Custodio, López-Geta, Embid, Arrojo and López-Vera, among many others, can be found among those who have dedicated themselves to these studies for some time. International institutions, ministerial departments, regional governments, universities, hydrographic confederations, royal academies, specialised agencies and institutions and research centres. Likewise, diverse associations and foundations have dedicated their efforts and objectives to dealing with this field according to a variety of visions. But an overall vision has been missing (and needed), one that can integrate and cover the entire panorama of objectives and knowledge from a multidisciplinary viewpoint and that can simultaneously include any participation initiatives from the perspective of shared responsibility, as it is pointed out by initiatives of the United Nations. In this sense, an opportunity and a valuable contribution to this line of study has recently arisen in our country. It is the Fundación Española del Agua Subterránea “Noel Llopis” [the “Noel Llopis” Spanish Groundwater Foundation], which, together with ten other institutions, is supported by the Government of Aragón through its Instituto Aragonés del Agua [Water Institute of Aragón].

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It constitutes the first national foundation engaged in the study of groundwater. Its specific objective (Bylaws published in the BOA [Official Gazette of Aragón] of 17 May 2010) is to “Contribute to the best social, technical and environmental management of water, especially groundwater, by strengthening the institutional framework and fostering the mainstreaming of sector policies that have an impact on the sustainability and recovery of groundwater”. We have prepared this conference from the same point of view. The proposed objective was to follow the new motto of “Rethinking Water”, leaving aside the motto of water as “a renewable and therefore inexhaustible cycle” and incorporating the motto of “even though it is renewable, it is a limited resource”. We believe that this is the way to attack the information and look into new ways of action. Thus, overcoming our previous ignorance or what may have been forgotten, we must return to a “meeting of the waters” with an eagerness to renew perspectives and with a multidisciplinary, global vision. This conference brings together the visions of specialists from highly diverse fields and points of view: scientific-technical, legal, current academic research, applied health, management and control, not to mention the invitation to make a joint contribution to solving the challenges of this problem, which is so utterly important not only now, but also in coming generations. After reading this document, I would put to you a great challenge of the future, in which not only do science and the most advanced technologies continue to be very important, but other aspects as well, such as social and health, environmental, economic and sustainability aspects, in addition to ethical aspects. They must all be simultaneously given special relevance within the concept of shared social responsibility among authorities, experts, responsible managers and all society. There is truth in what the expert, Prof. Ramón Llamas, points out when he sustains the following: “Groundwater: from a mysterious resource to the generator of a silent revolution”.

Groundwater conference

Fundación Genes y Gentes

in Spain for hydrogeological studies and studies on the use of groundwater”. A final note that we believe is important. This is the fourth publication of the second series of Conferences from the “Genetics, Environment and Society” Programme of the Fundación Genes y Gentes. The next conference is already being prepared, which will possibly discuss the importance of the problem of medicinal waters, as a continuation and extension of the studies included here. We tend to say that the best value of a Foundation is credibility, then opportunity and originality. We have succeeded in demonstrating –with the help of experts and institutions– that this continuing effort to present and debate matters of interest for all society is the guaranty of that opportunity and originality, thereby proving the credibility of an institution on a daily basis, which we have been serving for some time. We would truly like to thank those who support and believe in our work and efforts to reach these goals every day. In our acknowledgements, we would very cordially like to thank the President of the conference, the Director of the IAA, Mr. Rafael Izquierdo, and the General Secretary of that institute, Mr. Fernando Otal, for their support and expertise throughout this informative and educational journey of environmental awareness. Likewise, we would like to thank Mr. Francisco Aranda, Engineer of the IAA, for his support during the presentation and at the colloquium after the Round Table debate. Also, and especially, we would like to thank the speakers and participants, who have made the effort to present their ideas and contributions for debate, without forgetting about the “diligent and collaborating attendees” and the CAI-Fundación-ASC for its support and conscientious cooperation in providing the locale and services for the foundation, speakers and attendees, thereby helping with the development and success of the conference.

Finally, we would recall in this introduction that, with this wake-up call regarding these problems, we are doing nothing other than affirming the same ideas and the same concerns –with renewed aims of efficiency and with socio-economic, environmental and sustainability objectives– as those that (already more than a century ago) were affirmed by the native of Aragón, Lucas Mallada, when he presented a report at the Mining Congress of Murcia held in 1900, titled “The need and importance

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Groundwater Conference An asset of Aragón: challenges and opportunities.

Mr. Rafael Izquierdo Aviñó. Director of the Instituto Aragonés del Agua. Department of the Environment. Government of Aragón.

I would like to thank the Fundación Genes y Gentes for its invitation. I would like to congratulate the Foundation on the bull’s-eye when choosing the subject of this conference: groundwater. Talking about groundwater always involves a certain degree of mystery and the challenge of the unknown. Since you can’t see it… it’s as if it didn’t exist! In fact, when looking at today’s programme, once again there are enigmatic words and expressions such as “invisible water”, “hidden treasure” and “challenges”.


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Groundwater conference

The importance of Groundwater (GW). My first thought would be, is it worthwhile to dedicate one hundred percent of a conference like this to groundwater? Going further… is groundwater at all important to us? And why?

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Actions of the Government of Aragón though the Instituto Aragonés del Agua within the framework of Integrated Water Resource Management. • Educational and Sensitisation Programmes on Rational and Efficient use of water.

All of these questions are going to be discussed today at this conference, and they will serve to “bring to the surface” the major role that groundwater plays in the biodiversity of ecosystems, in the water cycle and in water management. I would like to initially put forward that, for the Government of Aragón, groundwater is important, because: - From a quantitative point of view, it constitutes a uniform source of water resources for the entire territory. In Aragón, 94% of water uses come from surface water, and ONLY 6% come from groundwater. In other words, there is still a long road ahead for putting groundwater (GW) in its corresponding place as a water resource, always according to criteria of sustainable management. - Regarding the regulatory and management aspect, there is legislation included in European Directives 2000/60/EC and 2006/118/EC that requires compliance with certain requisites to achieve a “good ecological status” and “chemical status” of groundwater (GW) bodies. - However, the reality is that, despite the fact that Spanish legislation includes groundwater bodies within the public water domain, in practice there are still many matters to be resolved regarding management and planning. - The qualitative aspect is also important, which means assuring the good quality of groundwater.

What is the Instituto Aragonés del Agua (IAA) doing about the role of groundwater (GW) in water management? Our Policy Actions are developed in 3 phases: 1. Diagnosis of the current situation of GW regarding its quantitative and qualitative aspects. It is being carried out by the Spanish hydrographic confederations in cooperation with the IAA within the process of revising the River Basin Management Plans of the Ebro, Júcar and Tajo Rivers. 2. Identification of the most relevant problems: • The risk of groundwater overdraft due to being used as a water resource for human, agricultural or industrial consumption. GW becomes a precious resource in times of scarcity and drought, as well as a fresh water reserve in semi-arid areas. An adequate balance between the supply of water resources and existing demands must be maintained. • A current deficit of infrastructures for correct management and use. • Pollution. One of the biggest problems that affect groundwater, because pollution is scarcely evident or invisible, coming mostly from agricultural uses (nitrates and phosphorus), as well as from livestock activities (liquid manure). 3. Proposal of measures to be adopted through integrated management.

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• The IAA is the Founding Sponsor of the Fundación Española del Agua Subterránea “Noel Llopis”, the first foundation of these characteristics in Spain. It is a non-profit foundation that was formed in 2009 with the objective of improving the Social, Technical and Environmental Management of GW. It comprises public administrations and public water management bodies in various Autonomous Communities, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, irrigation federations, GW user associations and representatives of the business sector related to GW. Mr. Fernando López Vera is its President, who is here and who will give us a more detailed explanation of its activities. In any event, I would like to highlight that, through the foundation, the IAA promotes the development of R&D&i needs in this sector. • Water Plan. Financial, technical and cooperative efforts with other public administrations are allocated through the IAA’s Water Plan for sustainable management at cities that have supply problems and for improving the efficiency of infrastructures. Approximately 40 million euros is invested annually.

Purification plans. Contrary to common belief, the biggest problem world-wide is not access to water, meaning that the problem is not the quantity of water, but rather the quality of the resource. Water quality is the greatest difficulty faced by governments, and it is going to require millions in investments within the scenario of a global economic crisis in which investment capacity is limited. We must not forget that in order to obtain good quality in the water resource, the most important and lease expensive action continues to be pollution prevention, and this is the direction in which we should orient a part of the actions to be developed. Aragón is a pioneer in the purification of waste water, and it is at the head of countries globally regarding compliance with the duty to purify waste water, which has been achieved through the various Purification Plans that are implemented in our Autonomous Community for the processing of: • Point Sources of Pollution through the Special Purification Plan and the Pyrenees Plan: through a management and financing model that involves public-private participation. • Diffuse Sources of Pollution: the Liquid Manure Treatment Plan.

Special purification plan (PED) and purification plan of the Pyrenees. 1.062 billion euros are being invested through the Special Purification Plan for purifying waste water for agglomerations with a population equivalent of more than 1000 inhabitants, and approximately 358 million euros are being invested in municipalities of the Pyrenees (between the 20-year construction phase and the operating phase) through a Public Works Concession model.

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Liquid manure purification plan. The actions included in this plan are targeted at the problem of diffuse pollution. In recent years in Aragón, there has been a major increase in intensive pig farming, with considerable territorial concentration. This has caused environmental problems due to the production of large volumes of solid and liquid manure, with the subsequent contamination of water resources and soil, as well as atmospheric emissions of ammonia and unpleasant odours. Therefore, the Department of the Environment of the Government of Aragón has implemented a series of actions in those areas where the excessive production of liquid manure represents a serious problem, given that crop fields are not capable of absorbing all the liquid manure that is generated in an area, wherefore aquifers become polluted. The biggest determining factor of pollution by liquid manure is an imbalance between agriculture and livestock farming in the use of manure as a fertiliser. The objective of liquid manure treatment plants is to decrease the nutrient content of liquid manure so that it can be used as a fertiliser product without the risk of diffuse pollution. The management model of these infrastructures includes the pickup, storage and treatment of liquid manure and the establishment of a Management Centre that directs and supervises all these operations. The centre is integrated by city and/or district governments (as the public partners), together with the livestock farmers who produce the liquid manure (private partners). This pilot model is helping to solve a serious problem of diffuse pollution that is difficult to control in a strategic sector of Aragon’s economy, which is highly sensitive to the current economic crisis. Initially, 4 plants are being constructed with an investment of 20 million euros during the 20082011 period. In brief, through these Public-Private Participation (PPP) models, we have succeeded in transforming a top priority socio-economic-health problem into an opportunity for socio-economic development that contributes to the improved territorial integration and cohesion of Aragón. I would like to conclude by pointing out that, in order to succeed in more efficiently managing groundwater, at the IAA we are venturing on giving regional governments greater policy authority by transferring powers that allow the development of a shared management model, whereby planning takes place under the principle of a river basin unit, with the agreement of all the Autonomous Communities involved through a process of dialogue and consensus. This model, once planning is defined at the national level, allows the management and execution of water policies by the regional governments that are closest to the territory, and it improves agility, effectiveness and efficiency.

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Invisible water. Professor Fernando López-Vera, Ph.D. Professor of Hydrogeology. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. President of the Fundación Española del Agua Subterránea “Noel Llopis”.


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According to prospective data from UNESCO, the growth in water demand during the period from 2010 to 2025 will grow exponentially in Asia and linearly with a strong slope in Africa and Latin America, while in the countries with the most developed economies of North America and Europe, growth in demand will be highly reduced. This is the context within which Spain finds itself, although according to foreign analysts such as Swyngedouw, “water continues to be an obsession in Spain, and the search for water continues, with the autonomous communities and cities demanding more and more water, a permanent subject of fighting and conflict in the process of Spanish progress”. This situation is due to the fact that there is a catastrophic idea of the water resource in Spanish society, which is based on the existence of local problems, and it has led to a question of identity.

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The most significant characteristic of groundwater is that it flows slowly through the entire territory, while at the same time its chemical properties are modified. It responds late and acts as a cushion with respect to climate changes, making it the protagonist in drought plans.

Among most of us who work in the sector, there is the increasingly more deep-rooted idea that while water resources are limited by weather, the resources are nevertheless sufficient to cover current demands and those of the near future. The solution to the problem is one of improving management and making supply and irrigation more efficient, and resolving environmental problems, where the greatest deficits lie. Source: IGME

The attached tables summarise the main hydrological differences and their socio-economic consequences.

Main hydrological differences between groundwater and surface water.

Surface water

Groundwater

· Concentrated flow, single intake. · Fast flow. · Highly affected by climate variability. · Highly vulnerable to pollution. · Easy control.

· Disperse flow, multiple intakes. · Slow flow. · Scarcely affected by climate variability. · Scarcely vulnerable to pollution. · Difficult control.

Source: UNESCO

In water management, there is a “black hole” concerning groundwater. Precisely because it is known and obvious, it is usually forgotten that groundwater constitutes the hidden half of the continental water cycle and is integrated in a single cycle with surface water.

Surface water vs. groundwater. Groundwater has its own, typical characteristics, which are differentiated from those of surface water. This multiplies the possibilities of use and strengthens the management possibilities when there is joint management.

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Main socio-economic differences between surface water and groundwater.

Surface water

Groundwater

· Use is mainly through public financing. · Long history of public management (LA, 1879). · Satisfies 70% of drinking water and production demand. · Highly variable economic and social benefits.

· Use is through private financing. · No history of public management (LA, 1985). · Satisfies 30% of drinking water and production demand. · High economic and social benefits.

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The supply from groundwater in Spain. In 2008, according to data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) [National Institute of Statistics], 32.2% of the water abstracted for supplying water to homes and business sectors (except for irrigation), municipal consumption and others came from groundwater; these data vary between 28.5% and 31.9%, according to the Directorate General of Water and the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain. The discrepancy in the figures is due to the fact that data coming from surveys tend to be mixed with estimates.

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Cryptic wetlands have barely been studied from a hydrogeological and ecological point of view, yet they sustain flora and fauna that are important to biodiversity. I would highlight the work of the late professor of ecology of the UAM, Fernando González Bernáldez, on studies of this type.

Regarding water consumption used for irrigation (which represents 75% of the total water consumption), water originating underground makes up 29.5%, 24.5% or 17.5% of the total, depending on the source of the data. Water for other uses, including bottled table water and hydrotherapy uses at spas, all comes from underground. Currently, groundwater is the foundation on which contingency plans for droughts and certain natural disasters are based, and it is profiled as the main regulating element for mitigating alterations in the water cycle caused by climate change. Nevertheless, despite its social, economic and environmental importance, groundwater –due to its hidden nature– is the least known and is the water to which public administrations pay the least attention.

Groundwater: important support for the environment. The most well-known environmental aspect of groundwater is that it feeds wetlands such as Tablas de Daimiel or Doñana, to state the most well-known ones in Spain. However, groundwater, and any aquifer that contains it, provides other important environmental services such as constituting the main part of the natural regulation of river flows, what we hydrologists call the baseflow. It is also vital to other ecosystems associated with water such as cryptic wetlands, which are important elements of the landscape in sub-arid and sub-humid areas, like most of the peninsula. Formation of cryptic wetlands according to Fernando González Bernáldez.

REGIONAL DISCHARGE AREA

LOCAL RECHARGE AREA

INTERMEDIATE DISCHARGE AREA

LOCAL RECHARGE AREA

LOCAL DISCHARGE AREA

REGIONAL RECHARGE AREA

Relationship between groundwater flow, the chemical composition of groundwater, vegetation and soil types, according to Fernando González Bernáldez.

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But the configuration of the landscape by groundwater is not just limited to cryptic wetlands. Karst landscapes and endokarst ecosystems are other examples. Aquifers also offer other services for the environment. Deep aquifers can be used for carbon sequestering, for strategic deposits of natural gas and for storing hazardous waste and bio-solids, in addition to use as a low-, medium- and high-enthalpy geothermal resource.

Problems and uncertainties.

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The intensive use of groundwater is a recent phenomenon (as from the middle of last century), and it has given rise to undesired phenomena such as overdrafting and/or degradation of the natural quality of water, which involves a subsequent decrease in available water resources. To a certain extent, a parallel can be drawn between a surface water reservoir and an aquifer: they both have an input and an output system and storage capacity, although the dynamics are different. In a reservoir, abstraction of the water is scheduled according to the stored volume, and as it decreases, the water quality changes due to water stratification. In any event, control is visual and direct. No more than 80% to 85% of the total capacity of stored water can be abstracted.

Most citizens’ perception of groundwater is associated with problematic situations, including the depletion of aquifers because of overdrafting, the illegal use of groundwater, the loss of groundwater quality, etc. The causes of this perception are illogical and are based on a general unawareness about how aquifers work and on neglect by the responsible public administrators.

Status of Groundwater Bodies as per the Water Framework Directive, according to the Directorate General of Water (MARM).

Note: * Within the Tajo River Basin District, only the risk associated with diffuse sources of pollution has been studied. In the “Aluvial del Jarama: Madrid-Guadalajara” and “Aluviales Jarama-Tajuña” bodies, the risk has been assessed jointly. * Within the River Basin Districts of the Segura River and of the Canary Islands, the risk associated with point sources of pollution has not been assessed. * In the Internal River Basins of the Basque Country, the risk has been classified as “high”, “medium”, “low” and “no risk”. To integrate this classification in the categories recommended by the European Commission, “high” and “medium” have been classified as “at risk” and “low” and “no risk” has been classified as “zero risk”.]

Decrease of the piezometric level and degradation of the natural quality of water, with a subsequent decrease in water resources available in La Mancha. Source: IGME.

This is not the case with aquifers. Water is abstracted without control, as if it were an infinite and inexhaustible resource, thereby causing decreases in the water level and increasing the salinisation of water. It is a phenomenon that is usually diagnosed after the fact, yet it is a simple process to detect if there is adequate monitoring. It can be affirmed that well-managed groundwater is a quality and certain resource.

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Development of groundwater in Spain. We have seen that groundwater contributes significantly to the water supply, to the economic system and to the environmental system in Spain. We have also pointed out that there is disorder in how it is managed and that there are problems of overdrafting and of damage to the associated ecosystems. As a type of summary, we could point out the major deficits in the following: • Knowledge of groundwater bodies, despite the impetus represented by the Water Framework Directive. Knowledge is very inconsistent, and the criteria followed for managing groundwater need to be refined. • Administration: insufficient for adequate management of groundwater. • Social organisation around the use and management of groundwater bodies. Excesses: • Prejudices about groundwater by managers and experts of the public administrations, who tend to stick to clichés such as overdrafting and the salinisation of aquifers. • Unawareness: generalised about groundwater and about how aquifers work.

Use of groundwater is highly dependent on technology. Source: IGME.

Barriers to the development of groundwater in Spain. • Legislation: insufficient for adequate management of groundwater, in both the Revised Text of the Water Law and in the regulations thereof. • The need to strengthen scientific research, technological development and education in this sector.

The preceding barriers are a consequence of a lack of knowledge and social sensitivity.

A response from society: the Spanish groundwater foundation. Why a foundation about groundwater? There are various entities in Spain that either directly or indirectly deal with groundwater, but they have proved to be insufficient. The FUNDACIÓN ESPAÑOLA DEL AGUA SUBTERRÁNEA “NOEL LLOPIS” came about for the purpose of reinforcing those entities while working together with them in a network. It is a private, non-profit foundation of Spanish nationality, whose scope is both national and international on missions of international cooperation. This foundation was recorded in the Registry of Foundations under the protectorate of the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs by resolution of the Undersecretariat, dated 29 April 2010 (BOE [Official State Gazette] of 27 May 2010). It is nicknamed Noél Llopis in honour of the professor of the Universidad Central de Barcelona and of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, who died in 1968 and who was one of the pioneers in hydrogeology education in our country.

Groundwater?

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The Board of Trustees is comprised of the following: • Agencia Andaluza del Agua. • Agència Catalana de l’Aigua. • Asociación Española de Usuarios de Aguas Subterráneas. • Cátedra de Hidrogeología de la U.A.M. • Consorcio para la Gestión del Plan Especial del Alto Guadiana. • Federación Nacional de Comunidades de Regantes de España. • Fundación de la UAM. • Instituto Aragonés del Agua. • Medio Ambiente, Agua, Residuos y Energía de Cantabria, S.A. • Sondeos Martínez, S.L. The aims of the foundation are to contribute to improving the SOCIAL, TECHNICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT of water, especially groundwater, by reinforcing the institutional framework and fostering the mainstreaming of sector policies that have an impact on water sustainability and recovery. In accordance with these aims, the foundation’s Board of Trustees approved a programme to stimulate knowledge about and use of groundwater in its various facets, with a four-year duration. Its main lines are the following: • The development of a strategic plan of scientific-technological research. • The promotion of social management (governance), thereby establishing links for cooperation among the stakeholders involved. • The purpose of the “Invisible water” campaign is to educate and sensitise society to the fact that groundwater constitutes the “invisible” half of the continental water cycle and that, without protecting and preserving groundwater, it is not possible to resolve the current water crisis and the derived environmental problems. It also strives to divulge its scientific and technological aspects and what they can contribute to sustainable economic development. Support for the campaign will take place through a travelling exhibition through various cities and will include conferences, workshops, fun activities, materials for distribution and a communication campaign. Logo of the foundation

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The legal framework of groundwater. The current problem.

Professor Antonio Embid, Ph.D. Professor of Administrative Law. School of Law. Universidad de Zaragoza.


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1. Introduction. This work should start by establishing some of the characteristics of the object of study, which are specifically relevant to considering the legal scheme of groundwater. Therefore, and from a legal point of view, groundwater presents evident difficulties with respect to being handled in a systematic and orderly manner, certainly many more difficulties than surface water. This could initially be qualified as an apparent paradox, given that it is perfectly legitimate to think that in current legal systems regarding continental water, which are almost all based on the principle of knowing the water cycle, we shouldn’t find substantial differences between the legal schemes of surface water and groundwater. However, this isn’t so by any means, which leads one to think that, at least with respect to the law, we haven’t learned all the consequences that could be deduced today from that evident flow and communicability of water, represented by the water cycle, which is the basis for many contemporary legal systems, either explicitly (such as it is indicated in Spanish law, specifically in Article 1 of the Revised Text of the Water Law passed by Royal Legislative Decree 1/2001 of 20 July) or implicitly.

Contents 1. Introduction. 2. Ownership of groundwater. 3. Groundwater uses. The declaration of overdrafting of aquifers. A) The territorial scope of groundwater management. B) Use of public or private water. Differences. C) Groundwater and water planning. D) A legally regulated form of use: Article 54.2 of the Revised Text of the Water Law. E) The declaration of overdrafting of aquifers.

4. The problem of collective uses of groundwater. 5. Protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration. A) Discharges to groundwater and achieving a good chemical status. B) Assessing the environmental impact by certain actions that might directly or indirectly affect groundwater. a) Mandatory environmental impact assessment (Appendix I). b) Possible environmental impact assessment if ordered by the appropriate environmental authority (Appendix II).

6. Groundwater and the European Union. International groundwater.

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What most likely occurs is that, in the legal arena, there is an extension (entirely artificial, of course) of the myths and ignorance about groundwater that have lasted for a long time and that continue to somehow exist. Even when scientific and technical advances allow us to have knowledge about groundwater and the management thereof that is almost entirely comparable with the knowledge and management that are applicable to surface water, it all hasn’t been entirely included in the legal scheme and certainly represents undeniable difficulties with respect to being put into practice. Thus, users have much more freedom of action and availability is much less restricted within the scope of groundwater than with surface water, and in parallel with this, it is much more difficult for public administrations to control the possible abuses that occur with respect to groundwater than with respect to what happens with surface water. As we’ll see below, these disparities and difficulties are noted in all areas of the legal scheme to be considered. They affect ownership (private or public ownership), the public administrations’ exercise of authority over use and the organisation of users (mandatory or voluntary and in what forms). As we will see in this work, there are particulars about the legal scheme that are difficult to explain according to strictly technical criteria, but they are easily understood from other points of view, above all if we take into account the historical evolution of legal schemes, where there have always tended to be peculiarities regarding groundwater.

2. Ownership of groundwater. In conjunction with the preceding paragraph, it can be clearly seen that previous legislation tended to recognise the ability of individuals to be not only owners of private water (a situation that we could qualify as static), but also to continue acquiring private ownership of groundwater (a dynamic situation). Most of the time, the owners of estates are the ones who look for groundwater on those estates, digging wells or adits that cause water to emerge, and by using it they incorporate the water into

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their estate as private property (because this property arrives usque ad inferos, recalling the classic Roman expression within the evolution of a legal scheme that has been so masterfully studied by NIETO, op. cit. in the bibliography). Therefore, it is ownership of the land that, as a consequence, leads to or involves ownership of the groundwater that, under said land, might be found by the activity of the owner or by the activity of a “seeker” other than the owner, obviously under the assumption that it is done with the owner’s permission. What I am describing are concepts of ownership that originate in Roman law and then go through codification in civil law based on the Napoleonic Code, and they thus travel through twenty centuries of history to nearly reach present day. However, this situation has been deemed to be unsatisfactory due to the harmful effects that have been caused as the use of groundwater has increased, given that the free investigation into, appropriation of and, as a consequence, use of groundwater by the owner of the land has inexorably led in many cases to the depletion aquifers and to having influenced the courses of surface waters connected to those aquifers (a simple consequence of the water cycle). On the other hand, a natural consequence of the discovery of the water cycle sets forth the premise that all water –regardless of its state– should have the same legal scheme. The result is that most specialised doctrine has, for many years, been setting forth the unification of legal schemes under the principle of also extending public ownership to groundwater (which is common for surface water). This phenomenon is also very clear in Spain, where its Water Law of 1866 (and subsequently the law of 1879) is what specifically allowed the appropriation of groundwater by the owner of the land under which the water was located or where it emerged. This has had an influence on the various laws of Latin America, which were, initially and for obvious reasons, oriented under the moral authority of this Spanish legislation. Therefore, in accordance with the Spanish constitution of 1978, which provides for a major reassessment of the institution of public domain (see Article 132 thereof, pertaining mainly to the public maritime-land domain), Law 29/1985 of 2 August, on Water, was passed. Article 2 thereof extends the characteristic of public domain to renewable groundwater, which has been a characteristic of almost all surface waters since 1866-1879 (in the bibliography, see S. MARTIN-RETORTILLO, Derecho de aguas, pp. 107 et seq, and L. MARTIN-RETORTILLO, “Las aguas subterráneas…”). (Neither this Law nor the Revised Text of the Water Law of 2001, which is the law in force and which reproduces the content of the law of 1985 regarding this subject, expressly state what the legal nature of non-renewable groundwater precisely is, although it’s true that from a hydrological point of view, the doctrinal position is that this non-renewable groundwater is actually a specific type of groundwater, since there will always be renovation of said water, regardless of whether or not that renovation could be prolonged for many, many years). Therefore, it has not been possible to acquire more private ownership of groundwater in Spain as from the entry into force of this Law of 1985 (which occurred on 1 January 1986). However, in order to avoid the possible problems of unconstitutionality that could occur, for three years the previous owners of private water were allowed to exercise an option before the water administration, which consisted of either continuing with the private ownership scheme (according to a series of irrefutable restrictions) or adhering to the concession scheme, with a series of privileges (such as being in a situation of temporary ownership of private water for 50 years and, finally, having the priority right to obtain a concession as from 1 January 2036). The Spanish Constitutional Court, in Judgement 227/1988 of 29 November, deemed all of this to be fully compliant with the Constitution, thereby giving rise to a very important judgement in Spanish legal history, which is given priority reference in the contributions by DEL SAZ and DE LA CUETARA, cited in the bibliography.

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The referenced Spanish legislation isn’t as perfect as one might think. Above all, putting it into practice has left much to be desired, insofar as the water administration (the traditional Hydrographic Confederations, mainly, but also the corresponding bodies of the Autonomous Communities with respect to the river basins that are entirely within their respective territories) has not known how to react quickly to the options exercised by the holders, and it hasn’t been careful about controlling new wells illegally dug after the entry into force of the 1985 Law, mainly due to a lack of personnel and funds. In some places, this situation is partly responsible for the deterioration of aquifers and for major environmental harm to the ecosystems linked to the aquifers (what I describe in the text is entirely applicable to the situation of the Eastern aquifer of La Mancha or aquifer 23, where the Tablas de Daimiel National Park is located). This has given rise to the paradox that the source of the Guadiana River –called the “Ojos” del Guadiana– which was actually an artesian spring of aquifer 23, has “moved” more than a hundred kilometres as a consequence of the decrease in the aquifer’s piezometric levels. Only in recent years have different techniques arisen to prevent these problems, such as transferring surface water (coming from the Tajo River basin) and restrictions on use by private individuals encouraged by public subsidies (the so-called Income Compensation Plan). Even the so-called Special Plan of the Upper Guadiana River was enacted (approved by Royal Decree 13/2008 of 11 January), which is the most sophisticated instrument existing in this area and which is entrusted with solving the existing problem by using notable financial quantities to purchase the rights of individuals. This will ultimately involve a reorganisation of the legal situation existing in this location, thereby reaffirming public ownership. At least this is what’s expected (see a study of the problematic situation of the Guadiana River, as well as other critical questions for groundwater, in EMBID IRUJO, 2006).

3. Groundwater uses. The declaration of overdrafting of aquifers. A) The territorial scope of groundwater management. I’ll start this section on groundwater management with a purely organisational topic and an initial affirmation: it seems evident that intervention by public powers regarding water of any type (surface or groundwater) should use the river basin as the natural geographic framework. This principle of water management according to natural boundaries or territories, and not according to artificial or political boundaries or territories, originated in Spain at the beginning of the 20th century (basically with the creation of the Hydrographic Confederations in 1926), and it is slowly but steadily extending to other countries. In the Constitution of 1978 currently in force in Spain, Article 149.1.22 affirms the State’s powers over the river basins that go beyond the territory of an Autonomous Community (in Spanish law, these are called inter-community basins), while the Autonomous Communities themselves are responsible for managing the river basins that are entirely within their territory (intra-community river basins), thereby understanding, in any event, that aquifers follow the overall scheme of a basin, since they are a necessary part of the same. This interpretation was affirmed by the Water Law of 1985 and was ratified by Judgement 227/1988 of the Constitutional Court, based on a constitutional text that is not excessively clear in its affirmation, to be honest.

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By the way, after the water framework directive of 2000 and the transposition thereof into Spanish law by the Law of 2003, the role of the river basin is now fulfilled by the new concept of the river basin district, which includes transitional waters and coastal waters in traditional river basins. It could be said that the principle I’m talking about today is a basic assumption that, according to doctrine, isn’t refuted by anyone, but nevertheless it is often difficult to implement. And this difficulty increases when we talk about groundwater, due to the lack of knowledge that has traditionally existed about the boundaries of aquifers, which currently have many nuances, as we’ve said. In any event, it is much easier to orient national legislation around the management of surface water according to river basins than it is to apply the same principle to groundwater, even when the intellectual basis of the water cycle should lead to the same solution for all water, regardless of the form. In Spain, the same problem exists regarding certain aquifers that extend into more than one river basin and therefore into the territory of more than one administrative authority. The applicable law leans towards shared management of such aquifers, but it is also possible that management duties could shift from the body in charge of one basin to another. One situation that must not exist is to have a body that is in charge of a river basin unilaterally attribute to itself the authority to manage an aquifer that might extend into more than one river basin. This has happened with the drafts of the management plan of the river basin district of Cataluña, which attribute to the Generalitat [Regional Government of Cataluña] the authority to manage certain hydrogeological units (aquifers) that are in both that river basin and in the Ebro River basin. After the corresponding claim by the Government of Aragón during the period provided for allegations, the definitive text of the plan was rectified, and it now submits to the aforementioned principles of shared management.

B) Use of public or private water. Differences. How water is used will depend, initially, on its ownership. If water is in the public domain, its use will be subject to a concession being granted by the appropriate body (the Hydrographic Confederations in river basin districts controlled by the state), within the framework of a fundamentally transparent and public procedure. But if water is privately owned, because an owner has exercised the option included the transitory regulations mentioned in the preceding section, then the owner of said water can use it freely, albeit subject to some evident restrictions: a) The first is that the characteristics of use that were being applied on 1 January 1986, the date when the Water Law of 1985 entered into force, must be maintained. This presents some evident limitations to the theoretically broad powers of the owner, and in daily management it poses some difficulties when interpreting what can or cannot be done. For example, it seems clear that the wells where water is being drawn can be periodically cleaned, but the owner’s authority may not extend to widening or depending the well or to installing more powerful pumps that would allow increasing the volume of abstracted water. If these conditions are breached, private ownership is transformed by operation of law into an administrative concession (in other words, the water becomes public).

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b) Second, use must be subject to the rules that regulate the overdrafting of aquifers, to uses of water in the event of a drought or urgent need and, in general, to the rules pertaining to limitations on use of the public water domain. The Constitutional Court, in the aforesaid Judgement 227/1988, deemed these limitations to be compliant with the Constitution.

C) Groundwater and water planning. The use of groundwater can be subject to a system of water planning. Today, water planning (see EMBID) is incorporated into the usual water management tools. Highly sophisticated levels have been reached on the technical plane of water use planning, which extends to areas that are much broader than the traditional area of water works, the field where this planning technique arose at the beginning of the 20th century. Without a doubt, Spain is a pioneer in water planning techniques, which today extend everywhere and are imposed within the realm of the European Union by community directives themselves (the aforementioned Directive 2000/60/EC, which orders river basin district plans to be drawn up in all countries, and they must necessarily refer to groundwater). Evidently, all uses of groundwater, whether public or private, must be understood as being subject to water planning. A long time ago there were positions in case law that excluded private water from water planning, but this has logically disappeared from current considerations.

D) A legally regulated form of use: Article 54.2 of the Revised Text of the Water Law (TRLA). One special case of use is that which is regulated in Article 54.2 of the TRLA of 2001, referring to publicly owned water. The precept states the following: “Under the conditions that may be established according to rules and regulations, water coming from springs located within landed property may be used on that landed property, and groundwater may be used therein, as long as the total annual volume does not exceed 7000 cubic metres. In aquifers that have been declared to be overdrafted, or at risk of being overdrafted, new works covered by this section may not be constructed without the corresponding authorisation”. This use of public water does not therefore require the granting of a concession, but rather it is legally predicated on nothing other than being the owner of landed property. Only under the circumstances that we’ll see below must there be public intervention, which is embodied in the granting of an appropriate concession. The application of this precept has given rise, in many places, to true overdrafting. Insofar as thousands of wells that are still subject to this limitation of 7000 cubic meters of abstraction per year have been opened, the cumulative amounts that may be abstracted exceed the recharge capacity of the corresponding aquifer by a considerable amount. Therefore, there are constant voices calling for this precept to be taken off the books or at least be modified so that the opening of wells is always subject to authorisation, and not just in the case of aquifers that may have already been declared as being overdrafted.

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Certainly in these cases of overdrafted aquifers, Article 54.2 (as well as any other public or private law that might exist regarding overdrafted aquifers) will be understood as being subject to the Abstraction Management Plan that must be approved as a consequence of overdrafting and without any right to compensation (see Additional Provision 7.2 of the TRLA introduced by Law 46/1999 of 13 December).

E) The declaration of overdrafting of aquifers. The preceding is a suitable gateway to dealing with the subject of aquifer overdrafting. The declaration of overdrafting is a technique that consists of a resolution issued by the water basin authority, after hearing the Water Board (ex Article 56 TRLA) and after the corresponding administrative procedure, thereby verifying that the volume abstracted from the aquifer exceeds the annual recharge quantity and stating that, if things continue as they are, the survival of the aquifer will be severely affected, in addition to the uses linked to the same and, of course, the quality of the water, which can enter into a process of serious and accelerated deterioration. This declaration of overdrafting has some important effects. We have already seen one of the effects of the declaration of overdrafting of aquifers: the approval of the Abstraction Management Plan (which must be drafted within a period of two years after the declaration, in the interim adopting limitations as preventive and precautionary measures). Another effect is the mandatory formation of a Community of Users (Article 87.2 TRLA). The applicable legislation also refers to the content of the Abstraction Management Plan. In brief, it is the following: a) The possibility of transforming individual abstractions into collective abstraction. b) Establishing the perimeters within which concessions of groundwater cannot be granted, un less a Community of Users has been formed. c) Establishing the aquifer protection perimeters according to which authorisation from the river basin authority must be requested in order to carry out infrastructure works, to remove aggregates, etc., in brief, in order to do anything that could affect the water contained in an aquifer.

F) Artificial recharging of aquifers. Within the area of water management, the technique of artificially recharging aquifers should also be highlighted. It is likewise subject to public intervention when it is developed by private individuals according to authorisation formulas, even when the public administrations themselves are usually responsible for managing the technique. The purpose is well known: utilising aquifers as underground reservoirs by using wells or filtration to inject water that may be abundant on the surface at certain times of the year. There are prac-

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tices and legislation that are well ahead of their time regarding this subject, such as the legislation in the North American state of Arizona (a 1980 law with subsequent amendments). Using this technique, public authorities follow certain principles of precaution, in addition to “quantitative” considerations, thereby attempting to ensure that the injected water does not in any way degrade the environmental conditions of the aquifer. This is why an environmental impact assessment may be necessary under certain circumstances. It should be pointed out that in Spanish law, where there is no regulation of a price for using water, rather just the obligation to “compensate” the state for the expenses that it incurs in the construction and operation of water works for regulation and transport that allow the water to be used, there is a specific reference to works for the “regulation of groundwater” (an expression that, among other things, allows including actions for the artificial recharging of aquifers). This means that the users of that “recharged” groundwater will pay a regulation royalty (which is legally classified as a fee) whereby the government will be compensated for the expenses that it has actually incurred within this scope (see Article 114 TRLA). Law 9/2010, the Water Law of Andalucía, has taken another step forward, as in other things, and it has implemented a novel regulation with respect to artificial recharging that will most certainly be the object of questions and even imitation.

4. The problem of collective uses of groundwater. In general, modern water legislation tends to promote the participation of users and citizens in water management, and it also links this principle to coming up with organisational formulas based on the territorial scope of a river basin district. Organisational techniques can be highly varied, but today the principle of participation, or even a certain amount of self-management, forms a part of consolidated values in water management in many countries. It seems fairly clear that shared user interests, implemented through a certain organisation, generate better management due to the inter-relationship between the powers and limitations involved. The full realisation of a right is only possible if the rights of the residents are taken into account, and from the point of view of other users, it is thereby much easier to cut short any abusive tendency that someone might hypothetically have when exercising their individual right. Within the scope of groundwater, this self-organisation is much more necessary than with surface water, and at the same time it is more difficult to achieve, insofar as private initiative, whether through businesses or individuals (drilling and operating a well, land transformation actions, the subsequent construction of irrigation infrastructures, etc.), is much more tangibly present than with surface water. Government tends to base the use of surface water around certain water works, which will also have been built by the government (above all when these works are considerable or costly), which gives it the authority to impose a certain type of organisation for using the water that is regulated or transported by those infrastructures. However, with groundwater, and in contrast to the aforementioned situation, most investment comes from individuals themselves, who consider the water to be a natural extension of their property. As the consumption of groundwater accelerates and increases –corresponding to the technical progress at the end of the 20th century– the

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need for these common organisations is considered to be the only guaranty for the harmonious realisation of all private rights and, in parallel, for the environmental conservation of aquifers. Nevertheless, we find ourselves still quite far from reaching a minimum state of satisfaction in this area. Within the scope of Spanish law, Communities of Users configured as Corporations of Public Law are well established, and therefore it is mandatory to belong to the same within the framework of the conditions established by the legal scheme. As I just stated, this is much easier to achieve within the scope of surface water than with groundwater. Nevertheless, the situation is improving little by little with the passage of time, with a notable step forward through Law 9/2010 of 30 July, the Water Law for Andalucía. It contains the following principles: a) The first is the obligation to establish a Community of Users if required by the Administration and also if there is a body of groundwater at risk of not reaching the objectives of a good status (this latter terminology is what replaces the terminology still being used within the framework of national water legislation regarding the overdrafting of aquifers). b) If users do not establish the Community of Users as ordered by the Public Administration, it is officially established by the Administration. c) The duties of Communities of Users of Groundwater are regulated in detail, where it can be seen how these Communities essentially are collaborators of the appropriate administration. Thus, Law 9/2010 talks about controlling abstraction, about installing metres, about filing complaints for activities that might affect the quality of water, about its advisory nature, about participation on tasks undertaken by the public administration, etc. d) To make all these actions possible, the law provides for the signing of agreements between Communities of Users and the public administration. The possibility that these Communities might receive financial aid for handling these public cooperation tasks is implicit. Current regulation still leaves some problems unresolved, in addition to the aforementioned. To a large extent, they are derived from the coexistence of public and private waters, which can even relate to the water of the same aquifer. One of these problems is the question of whether or not the formula of Communities of Users works as a way to group together users of private water. Up to now, the legal response is that it is not possible, because the formula of a Community of Users, as a corporation of public law, is designed for water of the public domain. It would seem, then, that the only thing that would work is the formula of using Associations of title holders to private water, but the right of association obviously consists of the authority to both associate and to not associate, and within the scope of water management, and as we have seen, it is essential that all stakeholders belong to the same group so that the best possible management can be applied.

The situation becomes even more reproachable when we note that, over the same body of groundwater (aquifer), it is possible to have both public and private ownership over that water. There is no doubt that Spanish law must take a step forward on this issue and test organisational formulas that are suitable for achieving the ultimate aim.

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5. Protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration. I’ve already indicated on several occasions how the one aspect that probably unifies most of the current legal schemes about groundwater and that allows them to be understood according to the same, minimally uniform principles is the environmental protection of water and of the ecosystems linked to the same. This environmental consideration can take many shapes. Thus, law refers to the discharges that can take place over groundwater, but also to the abstraction of groundwater and to the activities that can take place on the land in certain “sensitive” areas of aquifers, a subject that I already contemplated in the preceding point in reference to the protection perimeters of aquifers or to the abstraction points. Likewise, there are specific references in the legal scheme regarding which processes that affect groundwater should be the object of an environmental impact assessment. Let’s look at this in greater detail.

A) Discharges to groundwater and achieving a good chemical status. As it can be inferred from looking at the legal scheme and from looking at specialised studies on the subject (see SANZ RUBIALES), the regulation of discharges to groundwater tends to be much stricter than that pertaining to discharges to surface water. What may perhaps be allowed under certain circumstances with respect to surface water is radically prohibited regarding groundwater due to the almost limitless multiplication capacity that introducing a contaminating element into groundwater might have. As I said, this tends to be common in the various legal schemes, and it obviously has a specific place in the European Union, subsequently affecting the various national schemes of the fifteen countries of the Union. The Spanish water law is a good example, given that it contains an article pertaining to discharges to aquifers and groundwater (Article 102), whose content explains the need to perform a hydrogeological study prior to authorising any discharge, and authorisation would only be possible after the study shows that the discharge is harmless. Subsequently, regulatory standards (Regulations of the Public Water Domain, with the original text from 1986, amended several times since then) set forth the consequences and provide for the technical implementation of European law, which is very complex on this subject. As a consequence of the Water Framework Directive of 2000 and its reinforced procedures to maintain water quality (including groundwater), as well as the mandate to achieve a good chemical status of water by the year 2015, Directive 2006/118/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 was approved, on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration. This directive has been the object of transposition into Spanish law by Royal Decree 1514/2009 of 2 October, whereby the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration is regulated. This text provides certain criteria for assessing the chemical status of groundwater. Thus, it includes compliance with quality standards for groundwater and the threshold values that States might establish for different pollutants. Likewise, it regulates the procedure for evaluating the chemical status of groundwater and the measures for preventing or limiting entry by pollutants into groundwater.

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metres.

B) Assessing the environmental impact of certain actions that might directly or indirectly affect groundwater. Since its original regulation by North American law, the environmental impact assessment is an essential tool for authorising –or refusing or conditionally authorising– actions that could affect natural resources. Because of the environmental values about groundwater that I have continually pointed out, it seems evident that this field is well-disposed to performing these environmental impact assessments, and the law has taken note of it all, as we’ll see below. On the other hand, it can be easily seen how certain groundwater abstraction activities have caused regrettable effects that should be avoided in the future. Within Europe, community Directives 85/337/EC and 97/11/EC are those that have regulated environmental impact assessments and have set forth that said procedure should be applied to certain actions. Within Spanish law, transposition has taken place through Royal Legislative Decree 1302/1986 of 28 June, on the environmental impact assessment, today amended by Law 6/2001 of 8 May, and after several regulatory amendments regarding the national scope (leaving aside the possible existence of environmental impact assessments in the Autonomous Communities), today Royal Legislative Decree 1/2008 of 11 January is in force, thereby approving the Revised Text of the Environmental Impact Assessment Law for Projects. This latter law is where we have to look for the events in which such an assessment must be necessarily performed or for those events in which, secondarily, said assessment can be performed if it is thus ordered by the environmental authority according to the interpretative criteria provided for in the same environmental impact legislation. In all events, there are cases that can directly or indirectly affect groundwater. I’ve included a list of them according to what is shown in Appendixes I and II of said Royal Decree: a) An environmental impact assessment must necessarily be performed (Appendix I): According to Spanish legislation, this administrative procedure must take place in the following events: • On water resource management projects for agriculture, including irrigation projects or land drainage projects whenever they may affect a surface area exceeding 100 hectares. Irrigation consolidation and improvement projects are not included. • Operations that take place below the water table, using as a reference the highest level between annual oscillations, or operations that may represent decreased recharging of surface or deep aquifers. • Operations that may be located on land of the public water domain or in a restricted-use area of a river channel whenever they may be developed in especially sensitive areas, designated in application of Directives 79/409/EEC and 92/43/EEC, or in wetlands included in the list of the Ramsar Convention. • Projects for abstracting groundwater or for artificially recharging aquifers if the annual volume of abstracted water or recharge water is equal to or greater than 10,000,000 cubic

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• Deep wells for supplying water when the volume of abstracted water is greater than 10,000,000 cubic metres. b) An environmental impact assessment is possibly performed for the following if it is thus indicated by the environmental authority (Appendix II): • Water resource management projects for agriculture, including irrigation projects or land drainage projects, whenever they may affect a surface area exceeding 10 hectares (projects not included in Appendix I) or irrigation consolidation and improvement projects of more than 100 hectares. • Operations that may be located on land of the public water domain for abstraction that exceeds 20,000 cubic metres per year or in a restricted-use area of river channels when the surface area is greater than 5 hectares. • Abstraction of groundwater or artificially recharging aquifers if the annual volume of abstracted water or recharge water is greater than 1,000,000 cubic metres. • Water desalinisation or desalting facilities with a new or additional volume exceeding 3000 cubic metres per day.

6. Groundwater and the European Union. International groundwater. I would like to conclude this study by highlighting the evident role and relevance of groundwater in European Union legislation and, at the same time, the difficulty that still exists to conclude international conventions or treaties regarding groundwater, clearly contrary to what happens within the scope of surface water, where there is already long-standing, evident and truly progressive activity on agreements. Regarding the former point, we should point out the role played by Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000, which establishes a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (published in the Official Journal of the European Union of 22 December 2000). It is a very broad and ambitious text, which seeks to replace almost all the tedious and profuse community law on water that has existed up to now and to establish itself as practically the sole source of European legislation for the future. Member States have three years as from its entry into force to transpose this directive (which occurred on 23 December 2000), whereby it is endeavoured, among other things, to reach a good ecological status of all ground and surface waters of the countries of the European Union. The Directive indicates the criteria to follow for applying this qualification of good ecological status. Regarding groundwater, there are different mandates specified in Article 4 of Directive 60/2000/EC, which establish, among other things, the deadlines for Member States to achieve the following objectives: • Avoiding or limiting entry by pollutants into groundwater and avoiding the deterioration of the

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status of all groundwater bodies. • Protecting, improving and regenerating all groundwater bodies and guaranteeing a balance between abstracting and recharging said water in order to reach a good status of groundwater by, at the latest, fifteen years after entry into force of the Directive. • Reversing all significant and sustained trends that increase the concentration of any pollutant due to the repercussions of human activity in order to progressively reduce the pollution of groundwater. In development of all the aforementioned, I have included a Directive from 2006 in point 5 A), to which I would refer. Regarding the regulation of groundwater in international law, it is a subject that has been almost non-existent, with a broad field to be developed in the future. All of this is clearly in contrast to what happens regarding the regulation of international water courses, where there is extensive experience and tradition in the field of bilateral relations, above all in the field of multilateral conventions based originally on the mere regulation of navigability (the first international treaties on the Rhine, the Danube, the Mosa, etc.), which now contains substantive law in many areas, where there are also in-roads into the world of environmental protection. A good example of what I would like to point out is the use of the immense “Guaraní” aquifer (named as such in 1994), which extends throughout Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. It’s evident that all these countries can find a solution to their water problems in this huge aquifer, with a body of water whose quality status is excellent (in contrast to what is happening with its surface waters). This could make it possible to develop a vast region of more than one million square kilometres. To suitably organise this situation, it was necessary to wait until the summer of 2010 so that a brief international agreement could be reached, which must now be developed.

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plementary” rules, also approved in Seoul in 1986, which, to a very scarce extent, develop the principles that I’ve just transcribed.

Bibliography

DEL SAZ S., FORNIES J.Mª, LLAMAS, M.R, Régimen jurídico de las aguas subterráneas, Fundación Marcelino Botínediciones MundiPrensa, Madrid, 2001. DEL SAZ S., Aguas subterráneas, aguas públicas. El nuevo Derecho de aguas., Marcial Pons, Madrid, 1990. DE LA CUETARA J.M., El nuevo régimen de las aguas subterráneas en España, Tecnos, Madrid, 1989. EMBID IRUJO A., La planificación hidrológica. Régimen jurídico, Tecnos, Madrid, 1991. EMBID IRUJO A., «A vueltas con la propiedad de las aguas. La situación de las aguas subterráneas a veinte años de entrada en vigor de la Ley de Aguas de 1985. Algunas propuestas de modificación normativa», Justicia administrativa, número extraordinario sobre Propiedades Públicas, 2006, pp. 183-206. MARTIN-RETORTILLO L., "Aguas subterráneas y aguas que discurren íntegramente dentro del territorio", Revista de Administración Pública 113, 1987. MARTIN-RETORTILLO L., "Las aguas subterráneas como bienes de dominio público", en las págs. 677 y ss. del Libro Homenaje a Villar Palasí, Civitas, Madrid, 1990. MARTIN-RETORTILLO BAQUER S., Derecho de Aguas, Civitas, Madrid, 1997. MOREU J.L. Aguas públicas y aguas privadas, Bosch, Barcelona, 1996. NIETO A., «Aguas subterráneas: subsuelo árido y subsuelo hídrico», Revista de Administración Pública 56, 1968. PEREZ PEREZ E., La propiedad del agua. Sistema estatal y sistema canario, Bosch, Barcelona, 1998.

Within the field of international law and apart from what has already been mentioned, it is only possible to find the so-called Seoul Rules of 1986, approved by the International Law Association and with a scarce amount of regulations in only the four articles thereof. The first article gives international status to the waters of an aquifer that extends into the territory of more than one state, thereby linking these groundwaters to the water of the river basin in the sense of the Helsinki Rules of the same International Law Association (1972).

SANZ RUBIALES I., Los vertidos en aguas subterráneas. Su régimen jurídico, Marcial Pons, Madrid, 1997.

The second article regulates hydraulic interdependence with the surface waters of the states, thereby forming an international river basin, also in the sense of the Helsinki Rules. The consequence is that all states must take into account the interconnections between aquifers and surface waters when it comes to management. One specific article, the third, is dedicated to the environmental protection of groundwater, thereby establishing the obligations of states to protect water from environmental pollution and to exchange information with all states of the basin. All states must cooperate. Finally, article 4, and in only two brief lines, establishes the need for states to consider integrated management of surface waters and groundwaters. It should be pointed out that there are “com-

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Groundwater in Arag贸n: a buried treasure. Mr. Miguel Garc铆a Lapresta. Director of ZETA AMALTEA SL.

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Introduction. For a long time, groundwater has been associated with the legends and myths that were built around some of its manifestations, in the absence of any comprehensible scientific explanations. Springs that unexpectedly flow, rivers that disappear, caves full of whimsical formations, sounds caused by water as it moves masses of air through ducts, intense and evocative colours, odours and temperatures that suggest tortured paths through the depths of the earth’s crust, medicinal properties that heal the sick who make a pilgrimage in search of a cure, etc. In this regard, groundwater awakens imaginings that are similar to those that formed around hidden treasures or around dimensions that sometimes remained far beyond reality. The cavities that Jules Verne describes in his Journey to the Centre of the Earth are nothing more than some karst complexes that lie beneath the Nullarbor plains or the Buchan caves in Australia, the Devil Springs system in the United States, the karst complex of Sytone Forest (Shilin) in China or Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico (USA). This mythification gave rise to the appearance of practitioners of radiesthesia or diviners who predicted veins of water down below, in addition to their quality and exotic origin. Without getting into judging this wonderful trade, including the shamans of American or African tribes, today science and technology offer sufficient mechanisms to take advantage of this form of natural flow, thereby providing advantageous solutions in many situations, but also involving risks that are much greater than those related to surface waters.

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rivers and lakes, there are 75 litres of groundwater. In other words, rivers carry surplus aquifer water or water that, due to the impermeability of the land, cannot filter down. And this is so because of the force of gravity and the nature and structure of the land: the geology. To see this more graphically, we use two geological profiles that illustrate not only the structure of the most superficial part of the earth’s crust, but also the paths of water through the subsoil. Aragón is distributed between three geological domains: the rift valley of the Ebro River, filled with continental molassic sediment of a detritic and marl-evaporite nature from the tertiary and quaternary periods; the Pyrenees, an imposing mountain range formed during the late cretaceous and the early Miocene, which was compressed by alpine orogeny, thereby giving rise to a thickening of the sediments that are stacked on top of each other (Figure 1); and the Ibérica range, which encompasses a broad repertoire of sediments from all geologic periods and is more gently folded than the Pyrenees (Figure 2). These geological configurations give rise to various types of hydrogeological manifestations and also condition the river systems. Thus, the rivers of the right-hand margin of the Ebro river are much more gentle than the rivers of the Pyrenees because of the softening effect exercised by aquifers.

Figure 1: Typical geological structure of the Pyrenees, taken from Héctor Millán and other authors.

But above all, groundwater is a treasure because of the value that it encompasses in many aspects, which aren’t always well known. This speech will highlight some of these values in the territory of Aragón, without getting into detailed analyses but rather providing a simplified explanation for better comprehension. In turn, it will offer explanations about the origin of some of the more well-known hydrogeological manifestations. When preparing this talk, I consulted and borrowed material published by some of the excellent geologists and hydrologists who are now working in Aragón in a variety of areas such as the Hydrographic Confederation of the Ebro River, the university, the Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME) [Geological and Mining Institute of Spain] and private companies. I would like to thank all of them and the institutions where they work for their generous permission.

The water cycle in Aragón.

Figure 2: Typical geological structure of the Ibérica range.

Water moves in a cycle governed by two major mechanisms: the sun’s energy, which distils and lifts salt water into the atmosphere from the oceans, and the force of gravity, which forces water down to where some physical limit stops it. It is enough to look at the distribution of water on our planet to see this: 97.5% of water is saltwater in the seas and oceans; the remainder is fresh water. Two thirds of freshwater is in the form of ice at the polar ice caps and in glaciers, and regarding the remainder, for every litre that flows through

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Approximately 80% of the water entering rivers in Aragón comes from underground. This can be easily seen if we take into account that after a rainfall, river flow rates drop in just a few hours. It would behove us to present the hydrogeological panorama in Aragón, thereby considering rainfall distribution, geological structures and permeability: where the main recharge areas are located (which, by the way, coincide with unpopulated areas, so water quality is not significantly affected), where aquifers are expected to discharge and where there might be cases of hydrothermalism. This reality, while simply structured, requires in-depth survey work and geological and hydrogeological research that allow us to fit together the pieces of this complicated puzzle of water inputs and outputs. However, if the geological bases are right, everything turns out to be simpler.

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Rivers that disappear and underground interbasin transfers. When rivers flow over permeable, unsaturated rocks, the water –driven by the force of gravity– filters down until it encounters the water table, and along these sections rivers lose part of their flow, or even dry up. Usually, this filtration returns to the river farther downstream, where the water table elevation encounters the river bed. But it’s not always this way. Sometimes, the filtered water does not come out at the same river, but rather its underground path can lead it to feed another river if the geological structure forces it to. In Aragón, we have clear examples of this situation.

I’ve intentionally avoided giving figures and making comparisons, but I can’t resist making one: the renewable underground resources of Aragón for many years have exceeded the quantity of water that is stored in the large reservoirs of the Pyrenees.

One of them involves an underground interbasin transfer between two neighbouring basins: from the Aguas Vivas River basin to the Martín River basin. At Moneva, the Aguas Vivas River loses its flow to the Jurassic and cretaceous aquifer of the Oliete trough, and it appears through the Ariño springs at the Martín River. The springs have a variable flow rate of between 600 and 1000 l/sec., and since the water flows at a considerable depth, the average temperature is 22º C. To avoid part of these losses, the Moneva canal was built in 1970.

Figure 3. Rainfall and permeability distribution in Aragón.

Figure 4: Underground interbasin transfer from the Aguas Vivas River to the Martín River.

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Another example of an underground interbasin transfer, in this case towards France, takes place takes place due to the infiltration of the Ésera River in Forau de Aigualluts, where the river flow is lost completely and emerges spectacularly at the Ojos del Judíos (Güels de Joelu) springs in Lleida, thereby giving rise to the Garona River, which continues on towards France. The flow from these upwellings, which is highly variable due to the irregularity that is typical of Pyrenees rivers (highly affected by spring thaws), varies between 250 l/sec and peaks that have occasionally reached 15,000 l/sec. On other occasions, Aragón is the recipient of these interbasin transfers. This is what happens with the Queiles River, which starts at the Vozmediano spring (in Soria), with an average flow rate of 1100 l/sec. It originates from the infiltration of the Araviana River, a tributary of the Duero River, as it goes through limestone outcroppings of the Jurassic era that border the Moncayo Mountain at the East and Southwest.

Figure 5: Underground interbasin transfer from the Ésera basin to the Garona basin.

Figure 6: underground interbasin transfer from the Duero River basin (Araviana River) to the Ebro River basin (Queiles River).

Unexpected springs and rivers that are born. The same way that a river is lost, when the impermeability of rocks prevents groundwater from continuing down, the water finds a way out where the relief and geological structure allow. These upwellings of water may not be highly visible, such as what happens at cryptic wetlands or at diffuse outlets into rivers, but at other times they can be not only highly visible, but surprising. This happens in numerous places in Aragón. One example is at the headwaters of the Pitarque River near Órganos de Montoro, which offers beautiful scenery, and on the Martín River between Obón and

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Alcaine, where the springs that emerge have been excavating limestone caves that housed and sheltered our ancestors, as witnessed by the rock paintings found there.

the upper Jiloca River, adequately used, would have avoided the more costly Lechago reservoir.

But sometimes the treasure appears in unexpected landscapes such as Ojos del Pontil in Rueda de Jalón, at San Juan spring in Tarazona or at Virgen de la Magdalena spring in Mediana de Aragón, which gives rise to the source of the Ginel River, all in dry zones with no physical relief that would belie a possible water path.

Water full of energy.

In these cases, as it can be seen in some of the figures accompanying this text, the explanation is simple, even though the appearance might be unexpected. The legend is banished. An unmistakably unique case is that of the source of the Jiloca River, whose source is actually at Ojos de Monreal and not at Fuente de Cella, an artesian well dug by Templars in the carbonated material of the Jurassic aquifer, which is recharged in the Albarracín mountain range. They opened up the largest artesian well in Europe, with an average flow rate that exceeds 1000 litres per second. In these areas there are underground outlets that used to give rise to an extensive lagoon, which has fortunately been recovered today after the corresponding hydrogeological studies. The aquifers of

The temperature in the interior of the earth is greater than it is on the surface, and it increases at the rate of about 3º C per 100 metres in depth, on average. This temperature increase with depth is the geothermal gradient. When groundwater flows at major depths, it heats up on contact with the rocks. Moreover, since the water stays there for a very long time, it tends to become highly mineralised, thereby acquiring mineral-medicinal properties. It occasionally finds very fast exit routes to the exterior, such as through faults, helped along by the pressure to which the water is subjected, and it can even retain most of the heat that it acquires at great depths. These are the cases of hot springs such as those in Alhama de Aragón and Jaraba, which constitute the most important hydrothermal manifestation on the peninsula with respect to flow rate and temperature (approximately 500 litres per second and 34º C). In fact, the Arab name for spa and for the town (Al-Hamma) means hot water, and it is the term used by Arabs to refer to thermal spas. Figure 8 shows a map with the distribution of the main points of geothermal energy in Aragón. Otras surgencias termales interesantes son las del balneario de Panticosa, con cinco manantiales de aguas diferentes entre sí, los baños de Alquézar y de Nueno.

Figure 7: Explanation of the origin of Ojos del Pontil (Rueda de Jalón).

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Figure 8: Geothermal potential of Aragón and hot springs of Alhama and Jaraba.

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Food and medicine. As groundwater moves, it can also acquire salts that give it qualities that are beneficial to health: this is so-called mineral-medicinal water, some of which, such as the sulphurous waters of Paracuellos de Jiloca, have organoleptic evidence of their different composition. Other waters of major interest are the waters of Baños de Benasque, the bottled waters coming from aquifers that discharge to the Mesa and Piedra Rivers, the waters of Segura de Baños and a long list of so many others. In addition to these most significant sources, there are many others that have been bestowed with curative properties according to local tradition, sometimes without basis. Nevertheless, clean and fresh water from springs are, without question, the best food and medicine for human beings, given that we are composed of 70% water. In Aragón, we have a treasure of clean and good water.

Sating Aragon’s thirst. Aragón is thirsty. It is one of the most deep-rooted sentiments in the rural culture of Aragón. And where rivers don’t run, groundwater is used. This is the case of the fields of Cariñena, and it was the case in the Jiloca River valley, where agriculture today is less intense since the sugar-beet mill of Santa Eulalia del Campo shut down, and beet farming along with it.

*Mathematical modelling of the aquifer >rules of use

Figure 9. Use of groundwater in the Campo de Cariñena aquifers.

A strange situation is occurring with the aquifers of Campo de Cariñena in some areas, where the aquifer levels have been dropping gradually since the 80s of last century at a faster pace then they can recover during rainy periods. When this happens for an aquifer as a whole, we say that it is being overdrafted. It can seriously affect the associated ecosystems and give rise to problems of induced and almost irreversible salinisation if the appropriate measures are not taken on time, such as what happened at Tablas de Daimiel (as everyone knows), where there were even fires in the subsoil. Fortunately, this is not happening with the aquifers of Campo de Cariñena, where the Hydrographic Confederation of the Ebro River has taken the right measures on time and has prevented a potentially dangerous situation, turning it around into sustainable and prosperous use of groundwater for the district.

Induced problems. To conclude this brief and mixed journey through some of the aspects of groundwater in Aragón, I’d like to highlight something that was present during construction of the high-speed train between Zaragoza and Barcelona and that is very well known in the Ebro valley. I am referring to sinkholes and dolines. The substrate where the Ebro River runs has an abundance of gypsum, highly soluble salts, which are used in some areas either in their most common form or in the form of alabaster. When land in the valley is irrigated, the excess water that is applied to crops filters down by the

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Figure 10. Artificial karstification in the Cinca River basin.

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relentless force of gravity. When it encounters the gypsum, which is impermeable by nature but highly soluble, the water opens up paths and creates channels and small cavities. When these channels and cavities merge together as they get bigger, they can collapse, and so-called sinkholes open up, which can even “swallow” tractors, affect building foundations and result in the need to reinforce the high-speed train line at a high cost. Moreover, when the water that has created the paths reaches the river, it increases the river’s salinity. A curious case of the salinisation has occurred in the Cinca River, where major jumps in the river’s salinity were detected when flows were diverted to run the turbines of hydroelectric power plants, as shown in Figure 10. This example should serve to make everyone aware of the importance of not only adequately managing groundwater but also of implementing more rational irrigation practices.

Conclusion. Numerous hydrogeological manifestations have been left without comment. They all have their scientific explanation, and in every case we know how to preserve them and make use of their benefits for irrigation, for drinking, for healing or for enjoying their beauty. One topic, the environmental services that groundwater provides, will keep for another occasion. Groundwater is a treasure in Aragón is not only because of its economic value in the various ways it is used. It is above all a treasure if it is adequately managed, because it represents an effective mechanism against the possible effects of climate change and periods of drought, not only as a strategic resource and as a natural regulator, but also as support for numerous aquatic ecosystems and for landscapes and as a part of our essence.

Bibliographical and documentary references. There are two main sources of information about groundwater in Aragón: those from the water administration (the hydrographic confederations of the Ebro and Júcar rivers) and those from the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain. http://www.chebro.es/contenido.visualizar.do?idContenido=17361&idMenu=3402 http://ide-ebro.chebro.es/ http://www.chj.es/medioambiente/planificacionhidrologica/Paginas/MejoradelConocimiento.aspx http://www.igme.es The following URL is also especially interesting for more extensive information to learn about educational aspects pertaining to groundwater, especially for young children: http://ploppy.alcarazyestevez.com Some points of hydrogeological interest in Aragón can be consulted at the following: http://portal.aragon.es/portal/page/portal/MEDIOAMBIENTE/PUBLIC/PATNAT

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Mathematical models applied to the karst aquifer of Fuenmayor (Guara Mountain Range). Professor David Chinarro Vadillo. Professor of Language Processors, Mobile Applications and Advanced Technologies at the School of Computer Engineering of Universidad de San Jorge. Researcher on Systems Engineering applied to Karst Hydrology in the Hostile Environments Technologies Group (GTE of I3A). Universidad de Zaragoza.


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1. Introduction. Karst springs supply water to numerous towns of Alto Aragón [Northern Aragón]. As a kind of example, this study of the behaviour and characterisation of a karst system will focus on the Fuenmayor spring in San Julián de Banzo (Huesca), which has been used to supply drinking water to the city of Huesca since the 19th century. There have been prior works on its hydrological system6. For nine years now there is a gauging station installed to measure data such as flow rate, rainfall, electrical conductivity and water and air temperatures118. A weather station to complement the gauging station was recently installed in the recharge area centred at Polje de Ciano. The high processing and storage capacity of current computer equipment, together with advances on the use of complex algorithms that are increasingly optimised, allow the acquisition of a large quantity of data, which can be efficiently processed according to a mathematical model to extract useful information. To obtain quality and reliable data in the results of an analysis, it is necessary to use detectors that are comprised in a sensor network that meet calibration requirements and that are under strict maintenance. It is generally accepted that a karst system is not linear3. Therefore, it must be handled using mathematical techniques that are designed for this type of problem. The Transformed Wavelet is a tool that has taken on major importance in recent years in various fields of research, including those related to Systems Engineering and Hydrology4. This work is engaged in studying the behaviour of the Fuenmayor aquifer, with a spectrum analysis performed using wavelets. Using the time series that make up the data obtained at the gauging station, innovative models and new approaches will be tested in non-linear processing.

Fig. 1. Karstification.

2.1. Previous works. Fuenmayor is a spring in Miocene sandstones, and it is discharged from a karst aquifer in Eocene limestone, with a recharge surface area of 15 km2(17). It is located in San Julián de Banzo (Fig. 2), and it has been contributing to the water supply of Huesca since 1884 as a consequence of a cholera epidemic that affected the usual sources that had been supplying the population. The water channel was made by private initiative, with a canal of approximately twenty kilometres in length5. The karst nature of the spring was recognised in 1972, when the first study was performed on the relationship between the flow rate and rain, in addition to an initial analysis of the spring depletion curve17-16. In 1990, the Hydrographic Confederation of the Ebro River installed two measuring weirs on the Huesca pipe and on the spring’s spillway, controlled by visual measurements. In 2000, the current Hostile Environments Technology Group (GTE) of the University of Zaragoza designed and installed a monitoring station for flow rate, rainfall, electrical conductivity and water and air temperatures.

The result is that we will have a more real idea of how the karst system works, thereby discovering cross-correlations between input and output, discovering a causal relationship in the coherence calculations, revealing trends, justifying uniqueness and making estimates that help to prepare for and even forecast the behaviour of the spring in the near future.

2. The karst system. The term karst is used to designate a set of geological forms that are produced by the action of water on carbonated and calcareous rocks. Karst can evolve on the surface (exokarst), with landscape characteristics such as limestone pavement, karren, turloughs, dolines and canyons. Endokarst consists of underground systems such as sinkholes, galleries and caves with exotic speleothems. The set of processes whereby a karst develops is called karstification. It consists mainly of a reaction between limestone (calcium carbonate), the carbon dioxide in the air and water. The resulting product is a calcium bicarbonate solution that water propagates and filters through the subsoil. Slowly, through the inverse reaction, the calcium carbonate is deposited, thereby creating such exotic and spectacular formations as speleothems (fig. 1). To a lesser extent, other causes can have an influence, such as hydration, ionic substitution and oxide-reduction, together with basic phenomena such as mass transfer and diffusion10.

Figure 2: Town of San Julián de Banzo, divided into two neighbourhoods by the aquifer discharge brook. The Fuenmayor spring is in the yellow circle, protected by a fence (Territorial Information System of Aragón, http://sitar.aragon.es/).

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2.2. Hydrological behaviour. The hydrological behaviour of karst aquifers is a very complex subject that has been studied by a large number of authors in various arenas. In 1991, Anderson and Woessner1 qualified karst aquifers as “no easy task” and one that should be treated as a subject of advanced research. They gave a list of the models known up to that time and asserted “that none of them work very well”. In 1893, Cvijic7 was the one to establish the theoretical bases of many current ideas, and without a doubt he should be considered the father of modern karst research. Later19, karst aquifers were conceptualised by the variety of geological environments and their influence on the control patterns of groundwater flow, thereby considering the total surface area of the system. In 1971, Shuster and White9 discussed the permeability of aquifers as a means to classify them. Later, the works by D. Ford and P. Williams in 198910, together with other, more recent works, went into depth on karst geomorphology and hydrology.

3. 3. Model theory. As a physical model, the karst system, or karst aquifer, a similarity assumed by many authors13, is an interconnected system of recharge areas, permeability distributions and geological substrates, with a behaviour that is determined by the way in which the system’s water is infiltrated, stored, propagated and discharged. The conceptual model, using formal and descriptive language, represents the abstraction of behaviours, and it is analysed by applying methods and theories that originate from mathematical resources. Science in this field develops, tests and improves the models for predicting the system’s behaviour. A systems engineer applies mathematical tools to deal with characterisation and to predict the behaviour of a system based on observed data. In this case, with respect to a karst system, an engineer has to make decisions based on the following perspectives: a) How can I optimise the use of information in the observed data to calculate a model with the same properties and behaviours of the real system? b) How can I know if the model is good? And how can I rely on it for simulation, design or prediction purposes? c) How can I manipulate the signals to obtain the greatest possible quantity of information about the system? With respect to karst systems, nobody has completely answered all three of these questions, but there are many good approaches. A hydrograph of karst springs is a representation of the total response of the karst system to prior precipitation in the catchment basin. We know little about the internal structure of a karst aquifer. Therefore, an assessment of groundwater management requires a model that is described by a set of mathematical equations. Very complete studies about this same aquifer have been performed from a systems engineering point of view, thereby classifying it as an LTI system (Linear and Time Invariant). Indeed, karst systems can, without much error, be considered invariant over time, given that the flow of the karst

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Figure 3. Details of rainfall at Fuenmayor, with hourly data gathered between 2000 and 2005.

network evolves very slowly. However, even though linearity is more difficult to assume18, linear models use a large number of karst aquifers, and they continue to be used in a first approach to identifying the system, or as an intermediate result by applying certain analysis techniques to nonlinear systems. Many models of groundwater flow are focused as a type of “black box” system, with little knowledge of the physical structure. This perspective facilitates processing with systems engineering tools. Initial hypotheses are established for reconstructing the input-output dynamics of a non-linear and non-parametric system. Then the processing is simplified to the relationship between precipitation and flow rate data, with the idea that these two time series could be somehow related. Identification reliability cannot be evaluated in terms of the parameters that take part, but rather in terms of general behaviour.

4. Spectrum analysis by wavelets. Wavelets are not just another technique imposed by mathematicians, given that they arose from engineering. Scientific movement originates with a proposal of needs in a geological application, and it moves towards formulations in theory, where mathematicians contribute clarity, structure and order, according to Meyer14.The mathematical theory of wavelets was established in the mid 1980s by Grossmann and Morlet, who applied Gabor transforms to a model of echo signals coming from the subsoil in petroleum prospecting work. As from then, literature has grown rapidly, and wavelet analysis is now used extensively in many fields such as physics, economics, epidemiology, neuroscience, signal processing, climatology, oceanography and karst hydrology2 (4).

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We usually represent a physical signal (representation of the ephemerides of rainfall, flow rate, etc.) using a time function s(t) or, alternatively, in the domain of the frequency by its Fourier Transform as the integral overlap of a collection of sine and cosine waves (represented here complexly). Both representations contain exactly the same information about the signal, but they respond to different and complementary approaches. They represent two domains or visions of the same function and allows us to recover the information from one of the domains based on the other12. With respect to wavelets, the base function for breaking down the signal is not necessarily a trigonometric function. In principle, any function that meets the conditions of integrability and signal energy equal to the unit can be used. Given a wavelet function, which we call the mother function , we can obtain a family of derived functions using translation and expansion , operations, such as 唯 . A classic example of a highly used wavelet in karst hydrology is the Morlet wavelet, which is represented in figure 4. To delve deeper into this theory, there is extensive literature that can be consulted, such as the following: 8-15-11.

Fig. 5. Power spectrum of the rainfall time series (top) and discharge flow rate (bottom) over the recharge area of Fuenmayor, using the Morlet wavelet transform with a base wavelet.

Fig. 4. Morlet wavelet.

Using computer software on a Matlab (Mathwork) platform and in Java, we have developed applications for representing and studying the wavelet spectrum analysis. The result is a spectrum of colours such as what is shown in Figure 5. The top part corresponds to the spectrum of frequencies of rainfall and the bottom to the discharge at the spring. Since we would like to have a more detailed view of the signal, we try to represent it in the wavelet domain. To do so, we calculate the transform or the resultant of the convolution of signal s(t) and of the corresponding base wavelet function. The wavelet power spectrum is defined as the autocorrelation function of the wavelet transformation. We can represent the intensity of this power on a map according to a sampling frequency distribution of the wavelet (which we call scales) and of the value of the considered moment (Figure 5).

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In Figure 5, the sampled frequency bands (or periods) can be observed on the ordinate axis. The distribution of energy in the signal and the concentration in certain zones can be observed. The colours represent the signal concentration values. The annual and biannual cycles are highlighted towards dark red. We can zoom in and represent only high-frequency bands to see details about possible cycles of precipitation in short periods. Likewise, if we had a long series of data, we could

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5. Conclusions. The physical laws that govern a karst system cannot be completely known. One peculiarity of the karst system is that the discharge flow rate can vary over a short period of time and by a considerable value, probably caused by small changes in the input. Therefore, periodicity and peaks are essential characteristics of this type of system. They are considered abrupt behaviours in the flow rate scheme of the spring, with a clear dependency on precipitation. Most of the traditional mathematical methods that examine periodicity within the domain of frequency, such as the Fourier analysis, have implicitly assumed that the underlying process is stationary or that its spectra characteristics do not change over time. The wavelet transform is useful for analysing non-stationary signals such as the time series of a karst system.

Fig. 6. Cross-power spectrum of the rainfall and discharge time series using the Morlet wavelet transform with a wavelet base.

position our “mathematical magnifying glass” or wavelet towards the low-frequency bands, and we could possibly discover cycles of rainfall and drought over long periods of time. Curiously, we can actually see biblical periods of abundance and drought, or other cycles related to astronomical data. The black line represents a cone of influence of the ends of the data series: it is a confidence limit. The assessments outside of that line would be suspect of scarce reliability. The more extended the data series, the better the quality encompassed by the cone of influence, which is even much more notable in low frequencies. The difference with respect to the spectrum representation by Fourier is that the wavelet spectrum assesses the frequency component at the moment that it occurs. With Fourier, we know that there are certain frequencies in the signal, but not when they occur. Likewise, we can represent the power spectrum series of the spring’s discharge, also highlighting several natural cycles of discharge. Now, when looking for interesting results, we can try to discover the influence by rainfall input into the aquifer on output at the spring. We do this by the cross-spectrum analysis, with the convolution of both signals. Figure 6 is an abbreviated representation of this comparison. The zones of the map that are dark red indicate a strong correlation of signals in certain frequency cycles. By adding other functionalities to the application represented by the spectrum, we can calculate the coherence and the phase difference, thereby estimating the dependency of these signals with certain probability. The coherence function is derived from standardisation of the cross-spectrum and from the percentage of causality between rainfall and discharge.

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When analysing various hydrographs using the wavelet spectrum analysis, it can be observed that the most frequent peaks in the flow rate are those that present a delay of hours between the start of rainfall and the peak flow rate. Likewise, it can be verified that in the rainfall-flow rate relationship during summer periods, there are flow rate peaks that are simultaneous with precipitation, corresponding to a flow of surface water. Based on the observed phenomena and considering the fundamental requirement of optimum aquifer management with minimum impact on the hydrogeological system, some points for thought can be established as a type of partial conclusion: • We can estimate the reaction by the spring the next time it rains at San Julián de Banzo. If it does not rain during a period that is more prolonged than normal, the reaction by the output flow rate is different. • A linear model is not sufficient for characterising a karst system. Non-linear models, despite the complexity of their theoretical structure and despite their computational implementation, compensate by improving on the results of linear models. • Among the mathematical models that can be applied to a karst system, those prepared using wavelets, together with an extensive compilation of historical data on rainfall, flow rate, temperature and conductivity, can provide more precise information on the real behaviour of the system. Therefore, with this model it is endeavoured to achieve improved management of the resource.

Bibliografía. 1 M. P. Anderson and W. W. Woessner. Applied Groundwater Modeling, San Diego. Academic Press, San Diego,

1992. 2 B. Andreo, P. Jiménez, J. Durán, F. Carrasco, I. Vadillo, and A. Mangin. Climatic and hydrological variations du-

ring the last 117-166 years in the south of the iberian peninsula, from spectral and correlation analyses and continuous wavelets analyses. Journal of Hydrology, 324:24–39, 2006. 3 M. Bakalowicz. Karst groundwater: a chalenge for new resources. Hydrogeology journal, 160:13–14, 2005. 4 D. Chinarro, J.A. Cuchí, and J.L. Villarroel. Application of wavelet correlation analysis to the karst spring of Fuenmayor. San Julián de Banzo, Huesca, Spain. (Published in: Advances in Research in Karst Media, by B.Andreo, F.Carrasco and J.J. Durán and J.W.LaMoreaux (eds)). Springer, 1:75–81, 2010. 5 J.A. Cuchí. Esquema general de las unidades hidrogeológicas del Alto Aragón. 87-105. Mallada, pages 87–105,

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1998. 6 J.A. Cuchí, J.L. Villarroel, and T. Carceller. Comportamiento del manantial de Fuenmayor, (San Julián de Banzo,

Huesca) durante la sequía de 2005. Congreso Internacional sobre: El agua subterránea en los países mediterráneos, AQUAINMED06, 1:24–28, 2006. 7 Cvijic. Das karstphaenomen [the karst phenomenon]. Geographische Abhandlung, 21:218–329, 1893. 8 I. Daubechies. The wavelet transform time-frequency localization and signal analysis. IEEE Trans. Inform. Theory, pages 961–1004, 1990. 9 E.T.Shuster and W.B. White. Seasonal fluctuations in the chemistry of limestone springs: a possible means for characterizing carbonate aquifers. Journal of Hydrology, 14:93–128, 1971. 10 Derek C. Ford and Paul Williams. Karst geomorphology and hydrology. Unwin Hyman, Winchester, Massachusetts, page 320, 1989. 11 A. Grossman and J. Morlet. Decomposition of hardy functions into square integrable wavelets of constant shape. SIAM J. Math. Anal., 15:732–736., 1984. 12 Korner. Fourier analysis, cambridge university. Press, Cambridge,, 1988. 13 A. Mangin. Contribution a l‘étude hydrodynamique des aquifères karstiques. Thèse, Institut des Sciences de la Terre de l‘Université de Dijon., 1975. 14 Y. Meyer. Wavelets: Algorithms and applications. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Philadelphia,, pages 13–31, 101–105., 1993. 15 Yves Meyer. Wavelets and operators. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992-1990. 16 I. Pascual. Estudio hidrogeológico de la surgencia kárstica de Fuenmayor (San Julián de Banzo). 54 pp. 1 mapa. Tesis de Licenciatura Geólogo. Universidad de Barcelona,, 1974. 17 J. Trilla and I. Pascual. Análisis de hidrogramas de una surgencia cárstica (Fuenmayor, Huesca)pascual. Agua, 87:20–28, 1974. 18 José Luis Villarroel and José Antonio Cuchí. Estudio cualitativo de la respuesta, de mayo de 2002 a abril 2003, del manantial kárstico de Fuenmayor (San Julian de Banzo, Huesca) a la lluvia y a la temperatura atmosférica. Boletín Geológico y Minero, pages 237–246, 2004. 19 W.B. White. Conceptual models for carbonate aquifers. Ground Water, pages 15–21, 1969.

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Groundwater management. 2010 Ebro River Basin Plan.

Ms. Teresa Carceller Layel. Head of the Technical Service. Hydrogeology Speciality. Office of River Basin Management Planning. Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro.


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Introduction. In river basins that exceed the territorial scope of an Autonomous Community, the state performs the duties of preparing, monitoring and reviewing the River Basin Management Plan and of managing and controlling the Public Water Domain. The Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) uses this same integrated management model for the so-called River Basin District and sets a new temporary milestone for preparing a new river basin plan, which replaces the one currently in force from 1998. The Hydrographic Confederation of the Ebro River is in charge of preparing the River Basin Management Plan Project, and it is also in charge of organising and guaranteeing the processes for involvement of the public provided for in the Directive. This task started in 2006 with the implementation of an extensive process of active participation, in parallel with technical preparation of the documents of the new water plan.

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Within the specific scope of Arag贸n, there is currently information from 14,635 points (3098 in Huesca, 3320 in Teruel and 8217 in Zaragoza), of which 3225 are springs and the remainder are wells-boreholes in the broad sense.

This new river basin management planning must be guided by the criteria of sustainable water use, achieved through integrated management and the long-term protection of water resources and by preventing the deterioration of the water status, protecting and improving the aquatic environment and the associated aquatic ecosystems and reducing pollution. Moreover, it must consider all sector planning of the different public administrations, and it must contribute to alleviating the effects of floods and droughts. Thus, this new planning instrument lays down the rules of the game for the future management of bodies of water, and it therefore constitutes an opportunity and, at the same time, a challenge, due to both its objectives and the deadlines to achieve them. With respect to groundwater, the general objective according to which these tasks have been undertaken has been to completely integrate groundwater in all parts that must be contained in the new plan of the Ebro River Basin. To do so, it makes use of all available hydrogeological information (inventory database of water points, documentary archives, control networks, etc.), or it generates everything that may be necessary (estimates of resources, inventory of protected areas, vulnerability of aquifers, additional characterisation of bodies at risk, etc.). We should highlight the regulatory part of the new plan, which proposes en entire series of operating rules directed at protecting and managing groundwater resources.

Figure 1. Illustration of the Inventory of Water Points (IPA) database of the OPH.

Inventory of water points (IPA). This computer system constitutes a common working system at the Office of River Basin Management Planning and other units of the Hydrographic Confederation of the Ebro (CHE), to which the IGME and the University of Zaragoza also have access. It is a repository of diverse hydrogeological information coming from various sources, and it has specific functionalities that speed up queries and processing through the GIS-Ebro geographic information system. This combined use of GIS technologies and the database, through specific applications, allows the development of a system that supports water planning and management work in the Ebro River basin. It provides information about various water points and not just about abstraction for use, organised around the following subjects: 1) general data, 2) drilling, 3) lining, 4) special treatment, 5) lithology, 5) lifting equipment, 7) pumping tests, 8) use and operation, 9) hydrological data, 10) hydrochemistry and also illustrative photographs and associated documents.

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Figure 2. Illustration of simultaneous IPS/GIS-Ebro Information System processing of the OPH.

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Groundwater status monitoring networks. According to the Directive, monitoring and control programmes must be designed so that they provide a reliable assessment of both the quantitative and chemical status of all groundwater bodies defined in a river basin. To do so, there must be representative control points, and sufficient measurements must be taken. These networks constitute an excellent source of information for knowing the condition of groundwater bodies and how they evolve over time. Moreover, adaptation and improvement projects have allowed an entire network of boreholes to be drilled, where intense hydrogeological control has been carried out, directed at improving our knowledge of aquifers. Control networks are constantly being updated and improved, and the entire river basin currently includes the following:

Table 1: State Monitoring Programmes of Groundwater Bodies

Qualitative Control Network Monitoring network 315 points

Operational network 210 points

Quantitative Control Network Official piezometric network Control of monitoring

253 points

Complementary piezometric network

Phoronomic control network

Operational control

of significant discharges

66 points

31 sections

Points of these control networks in Arag贸n 162

105

131

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Figure 3. Map of the quantitative status control network of the Ebro River basin.

Borehole drilling.

Pumping test.

Details of the well inlet box and footing.

Final finish of borehole (protective box).

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Specifically, since 2004 the works contemplated in 3 improvement projects of the official piezometric network have been carried out, representing a total investment of over 4 million euros, and they have allowed the perforation of 155 new boreholes, 68 of which are in Arag贸n. The data provided by piezometers are indispensable for defining the quantitative status of groundwater bodies and assessing their resources, for making decisions in water management, for detecting possible imbalances caused by pumping, for knowing the response in drought periods or for assessing the recharging of aquifers.

Figure 4. Representative photographs of projects for improving the piezometric network, Ebro River Basin.

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Unused regional aquifer.

Evolution of levels, with an extrapolation of historical data.

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the alluvial aquifer of the Ebro River along the Lodosa-Tudela (49) and Zaragoza (58) sections, the alluvial aquifer of the Gallego River (57) and the Somontano del Moncayo (72) body. In Aragón, the maximum annual committed volume amounts to 256 hm3. The exploitation index is calculated considering the abstractions with respect to the available resources of each body, which allows visualising the exploitation risk or margin that exists in each zone.

Miocene aquifer affected by intense use.

Alluvial aquifer affected by irrigation returns.

Illustrative graphics of the evolution of the levels of characteristic aquifers of the Ebro River basin.

Underground resources: estimation and degree of use.

Figure 6. Map of the exploitation index of groundwater bodies.

Within the framework of the new PHCE, a new estimate of the resources has been made for all groundwater bodies defined within the Ebro River basin district using uniform methodologies and the available piezometric data. Thus, the available natural resource housed by all the groundwater bodies amounts to 2497 hm3/year, of which 928 hm3/year correspond to Aragón. In addition to quantity, it is very important to take into account the quality of the resource, which naturally depends on the materials through which the water passes and the time that it takes the water to flow through an aquifer. In the Pyrenees area, there is a predominance of calciferous, bicarbonated water with low salinity; in the Ibérica range, the regional flow is a conditioning factor for the existence of water with higher mineralization, some with calcium and magnesium sulphates. The groundwater with the highest salinity is located in the centre of the depression, due to the presence of evaporite accumulations. With respect to use, currently in the Ebro river basin there is a maximum committed volume of 465.65 hm3/year, which goes to agricultural uses, drinking water and industrial uses. The groundwater bodies with the greatest pressure due to abstraction are the Miocene aquifer of Alfamén (77),

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Status of the groundwater bodies. The status of the groundwater bodies has been determined using the information provided through the control networks. The status is determined according to the worst value of the quantitative status (piezometric levels and exploitation index) and of the chemical status (concentrations of pollutants, conductivity and trends). Of the 105 groundwater bodies in the Ebro River basin district, 82 have a good status, 1 has a bad quantitative status and 23 have a bad chemical status, due mainly to contamination by nitrates. Of the latter, 13 are in Aragón, and occasional contamination events have been detected in 3 others.

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• Special protection areas: The construction of new abstraction works will be especially limited in areas that are reserved and protected for future urban water supply or due to their special environmental interest. • Unauthorised areas: The construction of new abstraction works will not be authorised. In addition to considering an entire series of sector plans and programmes that are directly or indirectly related to river basin management plans or to the status of water, a total of 230 specific actions (35,810 metres of drilling) have been proposed for the entire river basin, directed at improving the status and guaranteeing the water supply. These actions are described in detail in the Plan in the form of technical data sheets that also quantify the cost of construction and operation of the same.

Table 2: Table-summary of the Groundwater Measures Programme State improvement measures

Abstraction of groundwater for:

Water supply (quality improvement)

Water supply (quantity improvement)

Irrigation (improved guaranties)

Infrastructures for use during drought

Figure 7. Map of the status of groundwater bodies.

Management proposals and programme of measures. To guarantee compliance with the Framework Directive with respect to the status of water bodies and also to improve attention to demands, we propose that the management measures already initiated some years ago by the CHE and the Autonomous Communities be maintained and expanded, in addition to an entire programme of measures. Said programme includes the proposal of specific actions that constitute the basic infrastructures to reach the objectives. The Regulations of the new Plan establish exploitation rules that allow managing the use and protection of the Public Water Domain. Some are general in nature, and others detail the conditions to be considered according to the specific problem of each area. • Areas without restrictions: It is not necessary to adopt restrictions in addition to those that, in general, are imposed by applicable legislation. • Conditioned areas: The construction of new abstraction works will be conditioned by the adoption of special precautions, such as the non-hydraulic connection of overlapping aquifers, limitations on the maximum and minimum depth of works and specific conditions for shutting down and sealing abstractions. • Areas with specific limitations: The construction and operation of new abstraction works must heed specific limitations such as the following: maintenance of a minimum piezometry or exploitation objective, maintenance of certain discharge flow rates at rivers, springs or wetlands; maximum exploitation densities or other hydrodynamic considerations in aquifers to limit exploitation.

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16 wells

105 wells

9 wells

55 wells

32 wells

77 wells

Control of abstractions. Abstraction protection perimeters. Sanitary seal and safeguard zone. Improvement and development of control networks. Improvement of hydrogeological knowledge. Good agricultural practices. Definition of vulnerable areas. Modernisation of irrigation. Artificial recharging.

Measures proposed for Aragón 21 wells

53 wells

TOTAL (138 wells)

Proposals for the future. • Execution of the proposed programme of measures, consideration in sector planning. • Promoting joint use and continuing with the integration of groundwaters (they currently represent 4% of the exploited volume) in operational systems for reinforcing supply guaranties with respect to quality and quantity. • Controlling both the exploitation of groundwaters and the effects thereof in order to promote progressive and improved knowledge of groundwaters and, therefore, improved management criteria. • Improved knowledge of the role played by groundwater in sustaining ecosystems and the environmental services thereof. • Highlighting the social and environmental values of groundwater.

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Glossary of terms. River Basin District and Integrated River Basin Management: The marine and land area composed of one or several neighbouring river basin districts and the associated groundwaters and coastal waters. The river basin district is designed as the main unit for the purpose of water management. Water table: The surface that separates the zone of the subsoil saturated with groundwater from the zone where cracks or pores are filled with air and water (unsaturated zone). It is a real surface, where the water pressure is at atmospheric pressure.

Piezometric level: The total energy per unit of weight of groundwater in a point of a confined aquifer. The total energy is equal to the potential energy plus the pore water pressure of groundwater, and it is equivalent to the elevation reached by the water in a well drilled at that point. It is not a real surface

Actions for the prevention of groundwater pollution carried out by the Instituto Aragonés del Agua.

Mr. José Antonio Martínez Founaud. Head of the Plan Coordination and Follow-up Area. Instituto Aragonés del Agua. Government of Aragón.

Available groundwater resource: The average inter-annual value of the total recharge rate of a groundwater body, less the average inter-annual flow required to achieve the ecological quality objectives for the associated surface water and any damage to the associated terrestrial ecosystems. Exploitation index of a groundwater body: The quotient between abstractions and the available resource of the groundwater body. With values between 0 and 1, considered to be at quantitative risk when it is greater than 0.8.

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1. Introduction.

2. Legal framework.

Water has had a constant historic importance in Aragón. The adequate use of water has allowed extensive parts of our territory to be developed, thereby favouring population settlement and the continuance of dignified living conditions. The importance of water in Aragón goes beyond the limits of the jurisdictions and divisions of the various public administrations. Everything about water is of interest to the Autonomous Community of Aragón, and it is important to be willing to improve the instruments and means that make social debate possible and thereby learn what society’s needs are.

Here we aren’t going to get into what has been analysed in detail in specific speeches of this conference, but I would like to give a couple of quick overviews about the European framework that we have and the regional law on water.

The pollution of groundwater is a top priority problem, given that our aquifers are a treasure created by nature over thousands of years and a vital reserve in periods when surface water is scarce because of drought. Even though the situation has been changing little by little, groundwater has been a scarcely known resource for years, and it has therefore been highly susceptible to pollution from various sources: urban and industrial dumping, livestock waste, agricultural waste, leachates from landfills, etc. Moreover, given the complexity of “purifying” an aquifer because of its idiosyncrasies, more than ever we can apply the saying of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and try to take measures that prevent our valuable aquifers from being polluted. The Department of the Environment of the Government of Aragón is aware of this problem, and to prevent it from becoming worse in those areas where the problem is biggest, it is implementing a series of measures designed to alleviate or decrease the effects. Within the department there are different Directorate Generals that exercise all the environmental powers that the current legal framework grants to the Autonomous Community of Aragón. Together with them, the Instituto Aragonés del Agua [Water Institute of Aragón], as a public-law entity attached to the department, is where the specific powers regarding water are brought together. The Instituto Aragonés del Agua is a public-law entity with its own legal personality. It reports to the public administration of the Autonomous Community of Aragón and is attached to the Department of the Environment (Law 6/2001 of 17 May, on the Scheme of and Participation in Water Management in Aragón [Article 31 et seq]). The purpose of this entity is to exercise powers over water and water works, which can encompass the 10 powers established by the aforementioned law within three broad lines of action: • On the one hand, the Instituto Aragonés del Agua plays a role in managing, planning and building water infrastructures to guarantee a quality water supply for the population, including the sanitation and purification of waste water. • On the other, it is the means for institutions of Aragón to participate in the national water policy. • Finally, the Institution is an instrument for citizen participation in the debate on and solution of water problems.

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The new Water Framework Directive (WFD) introduces drastic changes in the control, evaluation and management of water resources, with the mission of reaching a good ecological status for all waters within the EU by 2015. The WFD advocates a safe and quality supply that includes the reduction of pollution, and it is based on the principle of a single river basin management authority. This includes the Integrated River Basins Plan (and within it, a detailed Action Plan) as the tool for reaching that ecological status of the waters contained within each river basin district. The Directive also includes public participation as a basic tool for the execution thereof, and it includes the principle of cost recovery (“Full Cost Recovery”, FCR) to improve the efficiency of the resource, given that the costs of water must include abstraction, distribution, treatment, purification and even the opportunity value of the same. It likewise establishes the principle of recovering the cost of infrastructures and establishes the elemental principle of “the polluter should pay”. Applying the measures proposed by the WFD referring to water quality is more difficult in scarcely or irregularly populated regions, such as Aragón. Moreover, Law 6/2001, on the Scheme of and Participation in Water Management in Aragón, is currently in force, and its planning instrument regarding sanitation is the Sanitation and Purification Plan of Aragón (P.A.S.D.), which is implemented by the Instituto Aragonés del Agua. The plan includes the mandates contained in European and state legislation, but it goes a step further. The plan establishes the objective of purification for all agglomerations with a population equivalent of over 1000 by the year 2005. This increase in the range of actions represents the need to purify a large number of towns before the deadline established in European Directive 91/271/EC, given the characteristic territorial structure of Aragón: many agglomerations that are scarcely populated. The Special Purification Plan is the execution instrument created by the Government of Aragón to achieve this major objective of the P.A.S.D., which we will describe below, given that it also represents an improvement in quality, or at least the elimination of point sources of pollution that filter directly into the land.

3. The difficulty of Aragon’s situation. The demographic distribution of the Autonomous Community of Aragón is highly irregular: it includes a vast territory (over 47,000 km2) and a scarce population (somewhat over 1,200,000 inhabitants), with the capital city of Zaragoza containing over half the population. There are districts in the North and South of Aragón that have densities of 3 inhabitants/km2, which could almost be considered desert demographics.

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Huesca Zaragoza Teruel Aragón Aragón (without

the capital city of Zaragoza)

Population 206.502 861.770 135.858 1.204.130 616.494

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Surface area (km2) 15.613 17.244 14.790 47.646

Density (inhab./km2) 13 50 9 25

46.646

13 Tabla: Population distribution by provinces.

In fact, the population distribution by range of municipalities is the following: a) 0 < Hab. < 100 156 b) 100 < Hab. < 2.000 524 c) 2.000 < Hab. < 10.000 39 d) 10.000 < Hab. < 50.000 10 e) 50.000 < Hab. < 500.000 1 f) 500.000 < hab. 1 Map of population densities in Aragón

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Added to all this is the territory’s highly varied and extreme weather and geography. A few bits of data can illustrate this reality: • In Aragón there are 18,000 km of rivers. • The climate in 80% of the territory is semi-arid. • River beds are extremely sensitive from an ecological point of view due to the minimum water flows in summer periods. • Dumped waste water feeds dry river beds and filters into aquifers. Many discharge points meet this condition and require hydrogeological studies, as established by legislation, in order to be sure about where we dump our waste water.

On the other hand, the irrigated area in the region is extensive (around 450,000 ha). Therefore, point sources of pollution (waste water produced in cities and by industry) and controlling diffuse sources of pollution (produced by agricultural and livestock activities) are major problems in these areas, above all considering the scarce economic means derived from the scarce demography. Regarding pollution from agglomerations and ancillary industries, everyone knows about European Directive 91/271/EEC, which establishes the deadline of 31 December 2005 for all agglomerations with a population equivalent of more than 2000. Therefore, compliance with this standard is a highly complicated task for our region, given that a large number of small and medium purification plants are required. Despite this, the Government of Aragón is developing an ambitious and costly Special Purification Plan, which we will talk about below and which will include purification plants for all towns that have a population equivalent of more than 1000, thus taking another step towards compliance with legislation. In many cases, several agglomerations have had to join together to share a purification plant, thus involving cost increases due to the installation of main sewer lines. In brief, the plant includes 171 new projects totalling an investment of 295 million euros, 500 km of sewer lines and service to a de jure population of over 200,000. Finally, the diffuse pollution coming from agricultural (and livestock) practices has increased in Spain and other Member States of the EU as a consequence of large investments to improve production, which involves the intensive use of machinery, fertilisers and pesticides. These techniques have increased production yields, but they have degraded soils and water quality. For example, the excessive application of fertilisers in Spain is a serious problem in some regions where there is intensive agriculture, such as the Mediterranean coast (with a substantial surface area of greenhouses) or in various areas of Castilla la Mancha and, to a lesser extent, in the river basin districts of the Ebro and Guadalquivir Rivers, with concentrations of nitrates in the range of 50-100 NO3-/l.

4. The special sanitation and purification plan. The Special Sanitation and Purification Plan was approved by the Council of the Government of Aragón on 23 March 2004. Its basic objective is to implement purification plants as soon as possible for agglomerations with population equivalents of over 1000 where those plants were pending in Aragón on that date. This increase in the range of actions means that it is necessary to provide purification for a large number of agglomerations before the deadlines set forth in the European Directive, given the characteristic territorial structure of Aragón: many agglomerations that are scarcely populated.

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Moreover, as we have already seen, given that rivers in Aragón have such variable average flow rates, water quality problems are accentuated in summer periods, and it is therefore essential to act on all sources of pollution in order to improve the water quality of our rivers and aquifers. It is evident that in headwater zones of rivers the greatest source of pollution is generated by urban agglomerations, given that mountain areas are generally not highly suited to industrial facilities or large agricultural or livestock operations. Therefore, the Special Purification Plan will represent a radical change in the water quality of these river sections, which will contribute to recovering many kilometres of river banks for use and enjoyment by citizens. The Special Purification Plan consists of 131 purification stations with almost 500 km of main sewer lines, and it affects 171 agglomerations. It represents a direct investment of nearly 300 million euros and over 1.0 billion euros over the 20 years that the concession will last (the system selected for executing the Plan). It affects a de jure population of approximately 200,000 and a population equivalent of 590,000. It is a true Environmental Plan for the rivers and aquifers of Aragón and a venture on sustainable development, territorial integration, quality of life and the future of Aragón. Many of these actions have required hydrogeological studies to determine the suitability of discharge points to preserve aquifers. This has occasionally meant having to move the current discharge point to another one that is more in accordance with the objective. We can proudly say that right now there are over 90 of the 131 planned purification plants in operation and that most of them will be completed in 2011. Execution of the plan has been made possible by using the scheme of a public works concession, which allows the Government of Aragón to make a major investment in just a few years. Through this system, the licensee is able to finance and implement the purification plant, and once the plant is operating, the licensee begins receiving remuneration through the fees that he bid. In addition to charging per m3 of purified water, compliance with the pollution parameters is controlled, and in the event that the licensee fails to meet them, not only will the licensee not collect during that period, he will also be penalised, which provides the public administration with a significant guaranty. This Plan was awarded second prize in the Global Water Awards 2008.

5. The integrated purification plan of the Pyrenees. The Integrated Purification Plan of the Pyrenees Mountains of Aragón represents the new impetus that the Department of the Environment of the Government of Aragón has wanted to give to improving the quality of our rivers and aquifers. Its ambitious nature of bringing together and integrating the headwater areas of Pyrenees rivers represents a commitment to the environment in one of the most unique parts of Aragon’s territory. This ambitious initiative of the Department of the Environment will also come true thanks to the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Government of Aragón and the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs. Through this agreement, the Autonomous Community undertakes, among other obligations, to provide purification for the Pyrenees agglomerations whose purification responsibility to date had corresponded to the national government because they had

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Photo: San Martín de la Solana

been declared to be of General Interest. The Ministry will provide the necessary funds for the investment cost of these purification plants, amounting to approximately 129 million euros. The Government of Aragón has already requested quotations for and awarded 4 concessions of public works for 20 years in order to carry out all the actions in the Pyrenees included in the aforementioned agreement. The area of Aragón where integrated purification has been implemented has high ecological value, and from the point of view of designing and executing the works, it is also an environment where the solutions are highly complex. On the one hand, the existing population is highly dispersed in numerous agglomerations, with a low population density. In practice, this means that there are many agglomerations that require purification (almost 300), and most have a reduced size. In addition, the seasonal fluctuations of the population are a major hindrance to adopting technical solutions for purification. Several agglomerations are almost empty most of the year, but the occupancy is high on weekends and during holiday seasons. In addition, the winter weather conditions are highly adverse in most of the agglomerations. This, together with reduced accessibility in certain zones and an abrupt mountain terrain and complex

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[Environmental Management Institute of Aragón] in environmental reports and environmental impact statements. This plan is now in the project drafting and approval phase, and the first purification plants are expected to be built in 2011.

Zoning of the Pyrenees area.

geology, has represented a true challenge to the specialists involved. One significant piece of data is that over 50% of all actions have required hydrogeological studies, given that discharges have been into discontinuous river beds or at places that are especially sensitive. The investment in public works amounts to approximately 129 million euros, and it totals 358 million if we include the amount from the 20-year concession period, which is the formula according to which the invitation to tender was issued, just like the Special Purification Plan. The following table shows the types of purification for which tenders were requested: Type Septic tank and biological filter Imhoff tank Compact prolonged oxidation Conventional prolonged aeration Total

Number 121 117 39 19 296

The very sensitive environment of the Pyrenees, with high environmental quality and touristic excellence (some actions are located in the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park), had to be taken into account when coming up with the designs and solutions. Facilities were therefore designed by including implicit criteria and a series of preventive and corrective measures designed to minimise and eliminate the possible environmental impacts in areas where they might occur. For example, EDARs [waste water purification plants] have been designed to be compact, mostly buried and, when necessary, with deodorization systems and sludge treatment lines, prepared according to the environmental conditions imposed by the Instituto Aragonés de Gestión Ambiental

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Photo: Villanova

6. Diffuse sources of pollution by liquid manure To conclude this speech, we will introduce one of Aragon’s major problems, which is the excess production of liquid manure in some areas. There is a considerable pig farming industry in Aragón, approximately 9 million head of pigs, which therefore represents a very serious environmental problem due to the waste generated by farms, known as liquid manure. Cultivated fields are not capable of absorbing all the liquid manure generated in the area, which is used as a fertiliser, and it therefore causes pollution (mainly nitrogenated compounds) in the aquifers and subsequently in the river beds fed by those aquifers. All the nitrogen that is not absorbed by a plant in its life cycle remains in the earth, and either through percolation or surface runoff, it ends up in the aquifers and rivers.

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The objective of liquid manure treatment plants is to decrease the nutrient content of liquid manure so that it can be used as a fertiliser product without the risk of diffuse pollution, in other words, so that crops can absorb all the nitrogenated compounds of the liquid manure after having been treated. Multiple facets are involved in managing liquid manure: social, economic, technical and environmental, which are discussed in another speech of this conference. Through the aforementioned cooperation agreement between the Government of Aragón and the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, signed in April 2008, the Department of the Environment has obtained financing to begin construction on liquid manure treatment plants. The agreement itself expressly establishes that the Government of Aragón can execute works that provide for a decrease in diffuse sources of pollution. Thus, a series of actions located in the areas most affected by this problem have already been carried out or are about to be finished. These actions are being implemented by the public company Sodemasa through the pertinent order. The budgets are the following, in euros:

Liquid manure treatment plant of Zaidín Liquid manure treatment plant of Capella Liquid manure treatment plant of Valderrobres Liquid manure storage tanks in Tauste Biodigestion plant in Peñarroya de Tastavins Liquid manure sewer line network in Peñarroya de Tastavins

6.230.999,99 3.447.500,00 4.676.500,00 305.000,00 2.400.000,00 300.000,00

As it can be seen, the projects amount to over 17.5 million euros, and if we include the drafting of projects, site management and safety and health coordination, the figure amounts to almost 20 million euros.

7. Conclusion. As a final conclusion, I would like to once again highlight the efforts regarding water that are being made by the Department of the Environment of the Government of Aragón through the Purification Plans and the liquid manure actions, which are being implemented through the Instituto Aragonés del Agua and the public company Sodemasa for the purposes of reducing water pollution in rivers and aquifers and improving the environment of our community, thereby resulting in a better quality of life for the citizens.

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Groundwater pollution: diffuse pollution from agriculture in Aragón. Mr. Alberto Cobelo Rodríguez. ICCP, Director of the Infrastructures Division. Sociedad de Desarrollo Medioambiental de Aragón (SODEMASA).


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Introduction.

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source of pollution comes from excess nutrients that are sent to the groundwater, including phosphorous and, especially, nitrogen in the form of nitrate.

Groundwater is one of the main sources of supply for domestic use and irrigation in many parts of Spain and the world. In Spain, around one third of the water that is used in cities and industry and one forth of what is used in agriculture comes from underground. Groundwater pollution is therefore a serious problem, with the particular characteristic that it can take time before becoming evident, given that aquifers are not immediately accessible. This problem must therefore be adequately handled.

In Europe, the European Commission calculated that between 50% and 80% of the pollution from nitrogen that directly or indirectly reaches the water of Member States is mainly generated by agriculture (EC, 2000). Of this amount, 75% of the nitrogen that reaches the water comes from manure. The consequence of this situation has been the loss of the ecological quality of fresh water and of coastal habitat (Defra, 2003). In fact, 27% of potential eutrophication is attributed to the application of manure as a fertiliser (Daalgar et al., 2007), given that 13% of the applied nitrates are drawn directly into the subsoil due to filtration problems. In the Ebro River basin, the evolution of the amounts of nitrates that have been detected in groundwater and surface water (the trend of which is mainly ascending) corresponds to locales where the livestock density is high. In fact, it is calculated that approximately 13% of the nitrates applied to soil, on average, are filtered directly to the subsoil (Defra, 2008).

The problem of groundwater pollution. Types of groundwater pollution.

Eutrophication.

Groundwater pollution has several origins. Typically, two types of groundwater pollution processes are distinguished: “point” sources of pollution, which affect very specific areas, and “diffuse” sources of pollution, which cause diffuse pollution in extensive areas (Figure 1).

Eutrophication is the process of enrichment by nutrients (mainly nitrates and phosphates that reach water flows), which causes increases in the production of plant energy (photosynthesis) that subsequently generates an imbalance that seriously affects the ecosystem, normally involving an increase in biomass and a depletion of diversity. The adverse effects also extend to a reduction in the quality of the water used for human consumption, a decrease in the recreational value of surface waters, a decrease in the rural economy of affected areas and high treatment costs.

Figure 1. Sources of groundwater pollution.

With respect to point sources of pollution, detecting the problem is usually less complex, and once the cause has been isolated, correcting the problem –which will be more or less serious, technically– can be approached quickly. Due to the intrinsic nature of diffuse sources of pollution, identification of the main focal point of the pollution can be difficult, and indicating what or who is directly responsible is complex, given that the effect is occasionally cumulative and synergetic. The main origin of the most extensive source of diffuse groundwater pollution is contamination coming from agriculture and livestock. In this case, the action mechanism is usually the excess use of fertilisers of animal origin (manures) or chemical origin to improve the subsoil. Thus, the main

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In this regard, there have been studies such as the one in the United Kingdom by Pretty et al., 2003, in which the consequences of eutrophication were assessed economically, considering the following aspects: • Treatment of potable water to eliminate nitrogen. • Treatment of water to eliminate algae toxins. • Negative effects of biota. • Reduction of the recreational value. • Reduction of the value of areas due to atmospheric pollution and odours. • Economic losses in the tourism industry. • Reduction of river bank home values. The main conclusions reached in this study can be summarised by two main impacts of eutrophication: • The costs invested by the drinking water supply industry to reduce the high levels of nitrates caused by diffuse source pollution have been estimated to be €310 million for the period between 2005 and 2010. • The operating costs allocated to reducing eutrophication have been assessed at €65 million per year. These costs increase as the concentration of nitrates in groundwater increases.

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A similar study was performed in Denmark, in which the estimated annual costs to prevent the leaching of nitrates coming from fertilisation, organic and mineral, amounted to €76 million/year between 1998 and 2003. 60% of these costs were assumed by agricultural farmers and livestock farmers (OECD, 2009). As it can be seen, the range of values in both studies is similar. Currently, according to data from the European Commission, we see that the level of nitrates in groundwater and rivers has increased considerably over the last 50 years, but the evolution of surplus N per hectare (N/ha) at a national level has been reduced in all Member States of the EU (E-15), except for Spain and Ireland. Having reached this point, the European Commission asked Spain to comply with EU legislation on protecting water against pollution caused by nitrates within a period of 2 months (Brussels, 30 September 2010), basically with respect to the designation of vulnerable zones and the corresponding action plans. Legislative framework.

The basic legislation that must be complied with on this subject is Directive 91/676/EEC and the Water Framework Directive.

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La Directiva 91/676/CEE entre otras cosas, obliga a los Estados miembros a: Directive 91/676/EEC compels Member States to do the following, among other things: • Identify the waters that are affected by nitrates or that are susceptible to being affected by nitrates. • Designate vulnerable zones (Figure 2). • Draw up action programmes. In turn, the Water Framework Directive sets forth that by 2015 a good ecological status of continental and coastal waters must be reached. One of the more notable measures adopted by some countries to reach these objectives has been to reduce the number of intensive livestock farms.

The case in Aragón.

In the specific case of Aragón, according to studies performed by SODEMASA within the framework of the LIFE es-wamar project, the total addition by fertilisers to cultivated soil amounts to 141,900 tonnes per year (Figure 3). Of this total, 71,500 tonnes (approximately half) come from animal manure (mainly pig liquid manure), and the remaining 70,400 tonnes are provided by mineral fertilisers. In previous studies that were performed (Orus, F and Sin, E., 2006), it was verified that theoretical nitrate needs do not exceed 77,828 tones for the entire territory of Aragón, which represents only 55% of the applied total. Thus, 45% of the applied total (approximately 64,072 tonnes per year) directly becomes diffuse pollution.

Figure 2. Application of the Directive on nitrates in Europe.

In addition, there is a space component that aggravates the problem.

Figure 3. Total nitrogen applied in agriculture in Aragón.

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Figure 4.

Figure 5.

Figure 6.

Distribution of livestock farms in

Distribution of surplus manure areas

Schematic of biological nutrient

Aragón.

in Aragón.

treatment.

As it can be seen (Figure 4), livestock farms in Aragón are not distributed uniformly throughout the territory, but rather there are areas with a high concentration of production.

In areas that have a surplus of manure, where there is either insufficient crop land or the management costs make reuse unviable, a solution to reduce the nitrogen load has been posed by using biological treatment plants based on the process of nitrification-denitrification (Figure 6).

The main production areas of liquid manure were identified and quantified in studies performed by the Department of the Environment of the Government of Aragón. The possibility of reusing manure as a fertiliser was analysed as the main option in these areas. Thus, areas were identified in which, despite having a high production of manure, the availability of a large crop surface area made it viable to use liquid manure for agricultural fertilisation (Figure 5), where doses per hectare were applied according to agricultural and environmental criteria. In these areas, the management solution has been to establish manure management centres that allow livestock and crop farmers to adequately distribute manure and conveniently and flexibly manage it, from production points to demand points. An example of this is the Cinco Villas area, where a Manure Management Centre has been established in Tauste, which allows managing liquid manure, storing it in ponds and distributing it according to fertilisation needs.

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With respect to the territory of Aragón, measures have been implemented in the areas of Capella, Zaidín, Valderrobres and Peñarroya de Tastavins, where a large concentration of farms and the scarce availability of cultivated land made it advisable to build a liquid manure treatment facility. Thus, the correct management cycle of liquid manure is the following (Figure 7): • Manure-producing farms temporarily accumulate the product. • The manure is transported directly for application (recovery), without exceeding the legislative limits established for application per hectare. • The surplus that cannot be applied is treated at a liquid manure treatment plant. • During treatment, a solid phase is obtained, which has value as a quality organic fertiliser and which is reused for other uses and in other areas; and a liquid phase is obtained, which, with 90% less nitrogen, is suitable for organic irrigation uses. • In addition, biogas is obtained during the treatment process, which can be reused for the sustainable generation of electric energy and heat.

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Figure 8. Liquid manure treatment plants under construction by the Department of the Environment of Aragón.

Figure 9. Construction of the liquid manure treatment plant of Zaidín.

Figure 7. Integrated liquid manure management model in surplus areas.

Liquid manure biological treatment plants.

In 2008 an agreement was signed between the Department of the Environment of the Government of Aragón and the Ministry of the Environmental and Rural and Marine Affairs within the framework of the National Water Quality Plan. This agreement, with the objective of practical implementation of treatment solutions, included the execution of four liquid manure treatment plants located in Zaidín, Capella, Valderrobres and Peñarroya de Tastavins (a bio-digestion plant that complements the existing biological treatment plant), with a total investment amount of approximately 18.7 million euros (Figure 8), the execution of which was ordered from the company SODEMASA by the Instituto Aragonés del Agua.

Figure 10. Computer graphic of the liquid manure treatment plant of Capella.

The Peñarroya de Tastavins plant, selected as a pilot plant, was built in 2009 and is currently in operation. The remaining plants are currently in a highly advanced stage of construction (Figure 9). All the liquid manure treatment plants follow the same type of process, although with different treatment capacities. Figure 10 shows a computer graphic of the Capella plant, which will be capable of treating 60,000 tonnes of liquid manure per year.

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Conclusions. Recently, Aragón has made major efforts to improve the treatment of urban waste water. To a large extent, this also includes water from conventional industries. It has reached the point where it is ready to reach nearly the completely integrated treatment of water by 2015, given that with the purification plants currently being implemented, 90% of the urban contaminant load in Aragón is being treated. However, there has been relatively little advance regarding the prevention and remediation of diffuse sources of pollution coming from agriculture, which is a top priority problem due to its repercussions regarding the loss of quality in surface water and groundwater. In Aragón, the first steps are being taken to solve this problem, but it is essential to advance along the path of social and sector awareness by developing environmental education programmes so that the correct operation of these infrastructures can be guaranteed and so that the consequences of diffuse pollution can be prevented. Figure 11. Schematic of the treatment line of a liquid manure treatment plant.

References. Daalgar, R, Halberg, N. and Hermansen, J.E. (2007). Danish pork production. An environmental assessment. Aarhus University. Defra (2003). Strategic review of diffuse water pollution from agriculture: Discussion document. April 2003.

These plants combine biological purification and renewable energy production based on the biomethanisation of liquid manure (Figure 11). The basic processes include separation of the solid-liquid phase, treatment of the nitrogen by nitrification-denitrification (NDN) and the production of biogas by anaerobic digestion. These processes are the same at the four plants, but they are differentiated by the treatment capacity, the design and the technology used. In the first phase, the liquid manure is thickened by mechanical procedures (screening, decanting and separation equipment), and the sludge obtained is sent to the digesters, where it is subjected to anaerobic digestion at a temperature of 35-40º C to produce biogas. After a period of approximately 30 days, the solid fraction is separated by centrifuging. The liquid fraction is subjected to a biological aeration process (NDN), which transforms ammoniacal nitrogen into atmospheric nitrogen, which is harmless. Ultimately, the final liquid effluent is decanted and clarified.

Defra (2008). The Protection of Waters Against Pollution from Agriculture Orus, F y Sin, E. 2006. El balance del nitrógeno en la agricultura. En: Fertilización nitrogenada. Guía de actualización. Gobierno de Aragón. Pretty J. N., Christopher F. Mason, David B. Nedwell, Rachel E. Hine, Simon Leaf, Rachael Dils (2003). Environmental Costs of Freshophication in England and Wales, Environmental Science & Technology. Vol. 37, No. 2 Informe: CE. European Commission (2000). Implementation of Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources. Synthesis from year 2000 Member States reports. Informe: OCDE (2009). Kevin Parris. Impactos de la agricultura en los países de la OCDE en la contaminación del agua. III Encuentro Internacional de Expertos «gestión de la calidad del agua: retos y expectativas: tendencias actuales y perspectivas a futuro». Centro Internacional de Agua y Medio Ambiente (CIAMA).

The following are obtained as final products of the process: • A digested solid fraction, which has high fertiliser value and is easily transported. • A purified final liquid effluent that is suitable for use as organic irrigation on nearby fields. • Biogas, with a high concentration of methane, which generates renewable energy. • Useable heat.

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Photo gallery.


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From left to right: Professor Isaías Zarazaga, Ph.D. (President of the Foundation), Professor Antonio Embid, Ph.D. (Professor of Administrative Law), Mr. Rafael Izquierdo Aviñó (Director of the Instituto Aragonés del Agua), Professor Fernando López-Vera, Ph.D. (Professor of Hydrogeology).

Mr. Francisco Aranda (moderator of the debate).

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Mr. Rafael Izquierdo Aviñó (Director of the Instituto Aragonés

Mr. Fernando Otal (Secretary General of the Instituto

Speakers’ table (from left to right): Professor Isaías Zarazaga,

del Agua).

Aragonés del Agua).

Ph.D. (President of the Foundation), Professor Antonio Embid,

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Ph.D. (Professor of Administrative Law), Mr. Rafael Izquierdo Aviñó (Director of the Instituto Aragonés del Agua), Professor From left to right: Professor Fernando López-Vera, Ph.D.

Fernando López-Vera, Ph.D. (Professor of Hydrogeology), Mr.

(Professor of Hydrogeology), Mr. Miguel García Lapresta

Miguel García Lapresta (Director of ZETA AMALTEA SL), Mr.

(Director of ZETA AMALTEA SL), Mr. Rafael Izquierdo Aviñó

Fernando Otal (Secretary General of the Instituto Aragonés del

(Director of the Instituto Aragonés del Agua), Professor Antonio

Agua).

Embid, Ph.D. (Professor of Administrative Law).

Professor Zarazaga (President of the Foundation) at the opening.

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Appendix: legislation on groundwater.


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1. Royal Decree 1514/2009 (BOE of 22 October 2009), pages 88,201-88,215, which regulates the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration. 2. Directive 2006/118/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006, on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration. 3. Report of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. COM (2009) 156 final. Brussels. 01.04.2009. 5 pages (in accordance with article 18.3 of Water Framework Directive 2000/60/ EC on programmes for monitoring of water status).

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Information about activities of the foundation. The texts of the Conferences from the “Genética, Medio Ambiente y Sociedad” programme and from the “La Salud de las Aguas” Programme (activities financed by the Department of the Environment of the Government of Aragón) can be consulted by anyone who is interested at www.fundaciongenesygentes.es Mention sources when using and citing information.

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Groundwater. An asset of Aragon: Challenges and opportunities