Gotham: A new tool for integrated groundwater management
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People in charge of the innovative practice :
Damián Sánchez García – firstname.lastname@example.org
The project proposes a new framework of water management focused on users, given that current models generate information at each level, but without exchange between the different agents involved in the management of the resource (bodies, companies, users …).
The GTool tool is created in order to evaluate the integration of social aspects, the availability of water resources, their uses and consumption variations, their quality and quantity of the body of water, environmental impacts and the impact of economic measures., It is an innovative tool designed to promote consensus among all agents involved in groundwater management. It also allows to evaluate the viability and the main benefits of the managed recharge of an aquifer.
This new approach can be replicated in any area, being more notorious its application is arid regions.
Cetaqua, Water Technology Center, is a model of public-private collaboration created to ensure the sustainability and efficiency of the water cycle considering local needs. This model has established itself as a benchmark in the application of academic knowledge to water and environmental management, generating products and services that benefit society.
Cetaqua integrates, manages and executes research, technological development and innovation projects in the integral water cycle in order to provide innovative solutions to companies, public administrations and society. Itis composed of four independent centres with a common action strategy. The center of Andalusia focuses on two main areas of activity: 1) Water 4.0, solutions for digital transformation and 2) Water resources, production and regeneration, which has as priority lines of work the conservation of groundwater protection and aquifer research through SAM (Software Asset Management) and the characterization of the state of aquifers.
The Cetaqua centres have a list of more than 60 publicly funded collaborative projects.
The GOTHAM project takes on the challenge of water depletion due to controversial use. To overcome water stress, GOTHAM addresses the decision process of current groundwater governance models, through which doubts are raised and knowledge is generated at each level of decision and yet there is no exchange of information between the different actors.
GOTHAM aims to develop a user-oriented groundwater management framework that can be applied in all Mediterranean countries, to carry out water balance diagnoses to understand the use of users and the main problems that affect the quantity and quality of water. (GOTHAM, 2022). With this paradigm studies are carried out to determine the best alternatives to improve the state of underground water bodies, these alternatives are optimized allocation systems integrating all sources of water resources with uses, variations in consumption and environmental, economic and social impacts. To this end, the GTool tool is created, an agro-economic module that allows simulating the effect of different economic measures (incentives for water savings, water pricing, plans in the water market, …) and evaluate the economic use values and compensations between users in alternative scenarios of allocation of water resources.
In addition, it is intended to predict future water demand and drought episodes in the area of influence of the groundwater body. In turn, quantitative (overextraction and depletion) and qualitative impacts, such as degradation of chemical status by seawater intrusion and transport of pollutants, including nitrates and organic pollutants, are assessed in order to establish the need to modify water management decisions in advance. This tool also assesses the feasibility and potential benefits of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) and aquifer recovery as an additional groundwater management decision, including socio-economic, technical and environmental constraints, as well as the effect on the aquifer in terms of quantity and quality. (GOTHAM, 2022).
Evidence of benefits from implementation
GTool is an innovative groundwater management tool specifically designed under the consensus of all water actors (regulators, end users, water producers and suppliers), which will enable a new user-based groundwater management framework (bottom-up approach) rather than the current top-down model in which the regulator sets enforcement rules on an almost single basis. This is considered to be the only way to achieve long-term sustainable management of aquifers due to their complexity in terms of uncertainty (in relation to resources, reservoirs or internal geometry, for example) and monitoring and control by management (usually large areas and a hidden resource)., (GOTHAM, 2022)
REPLICATION POTENTIAL IN SUDOE REGION
It is a tool applicable in all areas with water need, with large agricultural exploitation or arid areas (such as the areas where the project is developed: Almeria, Lebanon and Jordan).
This tool will give the possibility of questioning the current management model, proposing a management based on users since it was considered the option to achieve sustainable aquifer management.
The GOTHAM Project (https://www.gotham-prima.eu) está enmarcado en el programa europeo PRIMA (Mediterranean Research and Innovation Partnership), focused on the development and implementation of solutions for water resources in the Mediterranean basin. This will be developed in the Campo de Dalías (Almería, Spain), and will be replicated at two additional sites, in Laat Baalbeck-Hermel (Lebanon) and in the Azraq-Zarqa Basin (Jordan).
The project has a duration of 3 years and Cetaqua-Andalucía leads a consortium formed by entities from 5 different countries: Spain (Cetaqua Andalucía and Universidad de Córdoda – WEARE), France (GAC Group), Italy (Istituto per la Cooperazione Universitaria – ICU – and Engineering Ingegneria Informatica – ENG), Lebanon (Ministry of Agriculture) and Jordan (National Agriculture Research Centre – NARC).
The GOTHAM project has several participating entities. Hidralia will collaborate in the development of this innovation project together with the municipalities of Roquetas, La Mojonera and Adra, as responsible for the management of the urban water cycle in these localizations.
To achieve an effective tool, Cetaqua also has in Andalusia the participation of local collaborators, users, managers and administrations involved in the water cycle, such as the General Directorate of Planning and Water Resources of the Junta de Andalucía, which will cede its control network for the installation of sensors and the monitoring of the state of the Campo de Dalías-Sierra de Gádor water body, and the Consorcio del Ciclo Integral del Agua del Poniente (CIAP).
Also participating as stakeholders in the project, the Central Board of Users of the Aquifer of the West of Almeria.
The Mediterranean basin is one of the basins in the world with the highest risk due to climate changes and human factors; that is, global change. Today, the most affected areas are the eastern and southern coasts, which face great water stress and/or water scarcity. (GOTHAM, 2022).
The study area in Spain is located in the Hydrological Subsystem III-4, within the Hydrographic Demarcation of the Andalusian Mediterranean Basins (DHCMA). The Campo de Dalías-Gador, with an extension of 330 km2, constitutes a coastal plain limited between themountain range of the Sierra de Gádor, with heights of 200 to 300 m, and the Mediterranean Sea. On the pilot site there are 10 municipalities (Adra, Berja, Balanegra, Dalías, El Ejido, La Mojonera, Vícar, Eníx, Roquetas de Mar y Félix), representing a total population of 261,115 inhabitants in 2019 (GOTHAM, 2022).
The case study includes the aquifers present in the coastal plain and the south face of the Sierra de Gádor. This system constitutes the main body of water in the province of Almeria due to the volume of underground contributions. Five main aquifers within this subsystem III-4 of the DHCMA are described (GOTHAM, 2022).
According to the MITECO (2020), an adequate water governance system needs to generate and maintain up-to-date and relevant information for management objectives, adapted to the needs of the competent Administrations, easily accessible and verifiable by stakeholders, and transformed into knowledge useful for decision-making.
The objective of the project is to advance the digitalization of water management. However, given the current situation in the sector in which there is still no advanced use of ICT, together with the rapid evolution of these technologies, their adoption presents benefits for almost all situations.
Through the implementation or improvement of ICT systems, the following objectives can be achieved:
- Capture of the appropriate information to make management decisions accurately at different levels: national, by basin, by infrastructure element or vertical according to the different parameters of water, volume, availability, quality, health, etc.
- Reduce the costs of inefficiencies in management.
- Enable accountability of water management.
- Allow the planning and modeling of the sector for management decision making.
- Allow the participation of the agents of the sector and of the citizenship in the management of the water.
Being an indispensable element in the modern management of almost any economic sector, ICT does not determine the priorities of water management in any of its aspects. But they help to make relevant information available to agents and decision-makers and help to make its management better known to society. They also allow, through the opening of management and the creation of appropriate internal procedures, the participation of the multiple actors in the sector, including citizens.
It should be noted that the structural changes in the water sector that have to come as a result of demographic changes, climate change, increased demand and, in general, respect for the principles of water governance can be adequately addressed by information technologies and these will help to better manage, however, the answers to these challenges cannot be expected only by the implementation of this type of technology. The objectives achievable by ICT can be summarized in the following points:
- Management in ‘real time’ for which data must be captured with the necessary frequency and resolution.
- Availability of data at decision points, although these come from a multitude of sources thanks to the possibility of federation and consolidation for compatibility and connectivity.
- Common mechanisms for access to common and known data based on open international benchmarks that allow public and private development.
- Opening, with the possibility of real time, of the data made available to citizens and agents of the sector, enabling active participation.
- Creation of an infrastructure that allows the modeling of water management prior to decision making.
- Complete digitalization, eliminating the manual processes associated with paper management.
Key points of the innovative method
- Nuevo modelo de gestión basado en los usuarios y el conocimiento del sistema.
- Promueve la participación de usuarios de múltiples sectores.
- Uso de TICs como soporte para la toma de decisiones tanto económicas, sociales como ambientales.
The innovative practice was suggested by Sergi Compte of Catalan Water Partnership (CWP).
- CETAQUA (s/f). Recuperado 8 de marzo del 2022 https://www.cetaqua.com/barcelona/recursos-hidricos
- Gregorio, R. (s/f). Cetaqua Andalucía. GOTHAM. Recuperado el 8 marzo de 2022, de https://www.gotham-prima.eu/index.php/es/cetaqua-andalucia/
- CETAQUA (2022). GTool, la herramienta colaborativa de gobernanza que plantea el proyecto europeo GOTHAM como solución al estrés hídrico Recuperado 10 de mayo del 2022. https://www.cetaqua.com/es/actualidad/-/asset_publisher/gHLnSnNh62TN/content
- GOTHAM (2022). Sobre GOTHAM Recuperado el 31 de marzo del 2022. https://www.gotham-prima.eu/index.php/es/sobre-gotham/
- GOTHAM (2022). Caso de estudio n°1: Campo De Dalías. Recuperado el 31 de marzo del 2022. https://www.gotham-prima.eu/index.php/es/caso-de-estudio-n1-campo-de-dalias/
- GOTHAM (2022). Objetivos Recuperado el 31 de marzo del 2022. https://www.gotham-prima.eu/index.php/es/objetivos/
- Gobierno de España Libro Verde de la Gobernanza del Agua en España-NUEVAS TECNOLOGÍAS DE LA INFORMACIÓN Y COMUNICACIÓN Y GENERACIÓN DE CONOCIMEINTO PARA LA GESTIÓN. (2020). Consultado 8 de abril del 2022
- GOTHAM (2022). La herramienta GTool Recuperado el 31 de marzo del 2022. https://www.gotham-prima.eu/index.php/es/la-herramienta-gtool/
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