LIFE-OFREA - Improving Water Reuse at the coastal areas by an advanced desalination process.

LIFE12 ENV/ES/000632

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Teresa DE LA TORRE GARCÍA
Tel: +34 93 335 15 00
Fax:  +34 93 336 60 21
Email: Teresa.torre.garcia@acciona.com

Project description:


Water scarcity in Europe remains a problem, due to, amongst other things, population growth, urbanisation, and climate change. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) promotes measures for water reuse from treated wastewater as one option for helping avoid over exploitation of aquifers. In coastal and island areas this can be especially pertinent, as groundwater sources in these areas can also suffer from contamination by salt water.

As an alternative water resource, treated wastewater can be reused for agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial recycling and reuse, groundwater recharge, non-potable urban uses and indirect potable use. Using treated wastewater for these purposes reduces pressure on aquifers, especially those located in coastal areas.

New technological solutions, like Forward Osmosis (FO) offer opportunities to improve the effectiveness of wastewater treatment systems and processes.


The main objective of the LIFE OFREA project is to increase the amount of wastewater available for reuse in areas where the salinity of fresh water is a limiting factor. This will be achieved by demonstrating the feasibility of Forward Osmosis (FO) technology in the production of safe and high quality water from treated wastewater for reuse, at a reasonable cost. The project will also seek to ensure that the amount of energy consumed during the treatment process is 20 % lower than equivalent effluent treatment processes using reverse osmosis.

The project also aims to show that FO treatment processes require 15% fewer chemicals for disinfection, pre-treatment and membrane treatment than reverse osmosis treatment processes.

The project will thus seek to demonstrate a fully automated, robust and environmentally safe wastewater treatment process using FO technology. The results will be used to promote FO as a viable option for WFD stakeholders.

Expected results: The main expected results of the LIFE OFREA project include:

  • Producing high quality water with less than 1 mS/cm of electrical conductivity, which fulfils all the quality indicators of the Regulation for water reuse;
  • 20% less energy used and 15% less chemical needed to produce water of the same quality as that from reverse osmosis treatments;
  • A fully operational demonstration plant, which produces safe water for reuse (agricultural, urban or industrial uses) at a reasonable price. The plant will be equipped with properly tested controls and automation tools to further highlight the relevance and potential of FO as a cost effective technology for tackling Europe’s water stress.



Environmental issues addressed:


Water - Water scarcity and drought
Water - Water quality improvement


water treatment‚  coastal area‚  water reuse

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator ACCIONA AGUA, S.A.U.
Type of organisation International enterprise
Description ACCIONA Agua is a private sector company specialised in the provision of water treatment systems such as residual purification plants, tertiary treatment plants for water reuse, and reverse-osmosis desalination plants. It has its own R&D technology centre in Barcelona, which employs a team of 30 highly qualified and experienced staff.
Partners Entidad de Saneamiento y Depuración de la Región de Murcia, Spain


Project reference LIFE12 ENV/ES/000632
Duration 01-OCT-2013 to 30-SEP -2016
Total budget 797,976.00 €
EU contribution 398,988.00 €
Project location Cataluña(España),Murcia(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version