Water reclamation and reuse have become essential components of water resources management in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, by helping to develop additional water resources in the lower Llobregat River, one of its main sources of water supply. By generating a reliable flow of 300,000 m3/day of high quality reclaimed water, the options available for integrated water resources management have widely expanded to allow in-stream river water substitution, restoration of natural wetland areas, agricultural irrigation, and supply to a seawater intrusion barrier. Those management options have been possible thanks to the implementation of an extensive water distribution system that allows distribution of reclaimed water to a point 15 km upstream of the reclamation facility, and to a seawater intrusion barrier within a few kilometres of the plant. The cost of producing reclaimed water using a physico-chemical process (0.05 €/m3) and the investment required for such a facility (0.21 €/m3 annual capacity) are very close to those of similar large scale projects in Spain. However, higher degrees of treatment, such as demineralization for agricultural irrigation and for injection into a seawater intrusion barrier, result in considerable increases of both water reclamation cost and investment costs.

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