LIFE EBRO-ADMICLIM - Adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change in the Ebro Delta

LIFE13 ENV/ES/001182

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Contact details:

Contact person: Josep Carles IBAÑEZ MARTÍ
Tel: 34977745427
Fax: 34977744138
Email: carles.ibanez@irta.cat

Project description:


The Ebro Delta in Catalonia is a wetland of international importance, and is considered one of the coastal systems most vulnerable to climate change in the European Union. The delta is undergoing a loss of wetlands and rice paddies because of coastal regression, caused by diminishing fluvial sediments, which are retained in the reservoirs of the basin. The coast is retreating by more than 10 metres per year in the mouth of the delta, where 150 hectares of wetland were lost between 1957 and 2000. The problem is accentuated by the decline in the elevation of the delta, because of the rise in sea level and subsidence. About half of the delta (15 000 ha) could be affected by this phenomenon during the 21st century.


The LIFE EBRO-ADMICLIM project will implement a number of climate change adaptation and mitigation pilot actions in the Ebro Delta, an area vulnerable to sea level rise and subsidence. It will implement an integrated approach to the management of water, sediment and habitats (rice fields and wetlands), with the aims of optimising ground elevation (through inputs of inorganic sediment and organic matter), reducing coastal erosion, increasing the accumulation (sequestration) of carbon in the soil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving water quality.

The project's main tasks are:

  • Production of a climate action plan for the Ebro Delta;
  • To take climate adaptation measures in the delta. The aim is to restore the sediment flow by increasing sediment deposits in the delta. The sediments will come from two sources: o Sludge sediments from the Tarragona wastewater treatment plant. A pilot injection system will be developed; o Sediments from the Ebro water reservoirs, which will require an assessment of the transport capacity of the river and channels; and
  • To take climate adaptation and mitigation measures for the rice fields and wetlands in order to: o Optimise carbon and nutrient sequestration; o Minimise greenhouse gas emissions from them; and o Increase the ground elevation.
As a result of these initiatives, guidelines will be established for a programme of adaptation and mitigation measures with emphasis on the rice sector. It will be essential to design a strategy for voluntary reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that has the rice sector's support. Improved rates of carbon sequestration through a change in management practices (for example, more efficient water management) could represent a significant improvement that could be applied in other coastal wetlands and rice fields in the EU. Expected results: • Demonstration of the feasibility of reincorporating about 1 000 tonnes/year of Ebro River sediments currently retained in a water treatment plant; • Determination of the real capacity of the Ebro River to transport sediment, which is expected to change from 10 milligrammes/litre at present to about 100 mg/l if the flow of sediment through reservoirs is restored; • Optimisation of the performance of constructed wetlands, which are expected to achieve carbon sequestration rates of about 80 g per square metre per year, floor elevation rates of about 0.5 cm/year, nitrate reduction of 70% or more, and about a 30% reduction in contaminants; • Accurate assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from delta rice fields, which are expected to be in the order of 80 000 tonnes/year of CO2 equivalent. Reductions of 10-15% are expected to be achieved from changes in agricultural practices; • Accurate assessment of Ebro Delta subsidence, which has been estimated at about 2-3 mm/year, and identification of the areas (expected to be 30-40% of the total area) most vulnerable to rising relative sea levels; and • Development of a climate action plan for the Ebro Delta detailing concrete climate adaptation and mitigation measures.



Environmental issues addressed:


Climate change Mitigation - GHG reduction in non EU ETS sectors
Habitats - Coastal
Land-use & Planning - Sensitive and protected areas management
Land-use & Planning - Soil and landscape protection
Climate change Adaptation - Natural resources and ecosystems
Water - River basin management
Climate change Mitigation - Carbon sequestration


integrated management‚  emission reduction‚  coastal area‚  wetland‚  greenhouse gas‚  soil erosion

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator IRTA - Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries
Type of organisation Research institution
Description IRTA (Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries) is a research institute owned by the Catalonia government, and overseen by the department of agriculture. It promotes research and technological development in food production and facilitates knowledge transfer.
Partners CAT(CONSORCI CONCESIONARI D’AIGÜES PER ALS AJUNTAMENTS I INDÚSTRIES DE TARRAGONA), Spain ICC(Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya), Spain ACA(Agència Catalana de l’Aigua), Spain CRSAE(Comunidad de Regantes y Sindicato Agrícola del Ebro), Spain UCO(Universidad de Córdoba), Spain OCCC(Oficina Catalana del Canvi Climàtic), Spain IGC(Institut Geològic de Catalunya), Spain


Project reference LIFE13 ENV/ES/001182
Duration 02-JUN-2014 to 01-JUN -2018
Total budget 2,260,960.00 €
EU contribution 1,124,341.00 €
Project location Cataluña(España)


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Project web site Project's website


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