LIFE iBATHWATER - Advanced urban water management to efficiently ensure bathing water quality

LIFE17 ENV/ES/000396

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Contact details:

Contact person: Laia Cases
Email: laia.cases@eurecat.org

Project description:


Urban areas routinely expose surrounding lakes, rivers and seas to significant loads of contaminants. This pollution often originates from sewers, surface runoff, failing septic systems and illicit pipe connections. In times of heavy rainfall, even well-maintained sewer networks can overflow, discharging urban wastewater directly into the environment and raising the concentration of harmful chemicals and pathogens in water bodies. In addition to the damage that these pollutants cause to ecosystems, they can also lead to sanitary risks when reaching peri-urban bathing areas. According to EU legislation, national authorities are responsible for monitoring bacteria in these waters and informing the public of local pollution levels. The Water Framework Directive also commits them to maintaining the quality of water bodies.


The LIFE iBATHWATER project aims to demonstrate how better technology and interoperability can reduce pollution levels in water bodies located near urban centres. An open software platform will coordinate tasks involved in operating sewage systems to improve wastewater monitoring, treatment and management in cities including Barcelona and Berlin. Its holistic design will make it possible to combine information from existing infrastructure with online data on water quality, including measurements from water quality monitoring probes deployed by project partners. This comprehensive insight will assist authorities in implementing the Water Framework Directive and feed into algorithms to support decision makers governing bathing waters. The increased transparency and control offered by project activities will reduce the environmental burden and sanitary risks of abrupt pollution events on recreational water bodies, helping to implement the objectives of the Bathing Water Directive. It will notably tackle the environmental impact of wastewater spill-over following heavy rain.

Expected results:

  • Assess the full environmental impact of sewage overflow in Barcelona and Berlin using online microbial monitoring and tailor-made dispersion models;
  • Quantify water quality during short-term pollution events in sewage systems and peri-urban water bodies;
  • Reduce the load of contaminants, including pathogens and organic matter, discharged in urban wastewater to counter the contamination of nearby water bodies;
  • Reduce the number and volume of sewer overflows discharging wastewater from urban areas;
  • Minimise health risks to bathers by improving water quality during abrupt peaks in water pollution from urban areas, notably carried by heavy rainfall;
  • Raise awareness among EU citizens of the environmental and health implications of storm water discharges; and
  • Obtain EU Environmental Technology Verification for iBATHWATER technologies to accelerate their market uptake.



Environmental issues addressed:


Water - Water quality improvement


bathing water‚  waste water reduction‚  water resources management‚  water pollution‚  water quality improvement

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 2006/7 - Management of bathing water quality and repealing Directive 76/160/EEC (15.02. ...
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Fundació Eurecat
Type of organisation Research institution
Description Eurecat is a network of public research centres and universities in Catalonia, Spain. It assists local companies in deploying new technologies. Founded in 2015, Eurecat has already worked with over 1 500 clients, filed 80 patents and led to several spin-offs.
Partners Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin GmbH, Germany ADASA Sistemas S.A.U., Spain Barcelona Cicle de l’Aigua S.A., Spain BARCELONA CITY COUNCIL, Spain


Project reference LIFE17 ENV/ES/000396
Duration 01-SEP-2018 to 31-DEC -2021
Total budget 2,274,164.00 €
EU contribution 1,364,497.00 €
Project location Cataluña(España)


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