LIFE SANePLAN - Integrated Planning and Sustainable Management of Sanitation Infrastructures through innovative precision technology

LIFE12 ENV/ES/000687

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Contact details:

Contact person: Juan Luis SOBREIRA SEOANE
Tel: 34981173206
Fax: 34981173223
Email: jsobreira@itg.es

Project description:


According to the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) of the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform, the key priority for the European water sector is to develop low carbon-footprint technologies and concepts for water production and wastewater treatment. It is also vital to improve new multi-stakeholder governance models that allow to manage all relevant actors, including cities, industries, agriculture, energy, transport and nature, addressing local characteristics. In this context, the SRA highlights the need to develop collaborative and participatory decision-making systems that includes diverse stakeholder views aimed to improve services and transparency, resulting on fair decision making based on water footprint assessments, new pricing, and economic mechanisms.


The general objective of the LIFE SANePLAN project was to improve sanitation management through the development and demonstration of an information system that integrates sanitation and urban planning. The project foresaw the integration of all elements of sanitation with urban planning. Specific objectives included contributing to a reduction in the pressure on water bodies; improving the effectiveness of sanitation systems; contributing to the development of transparent governance systems for environmental information; and contributing to a better use of budgets for sanitation by promoting joint management and operations.


The LIFE SANePLAN project led to improvements in sanitation management through the development and demonstration of an information system that integrates sanitation with urban planning. The system was implemented in four Spanish municipalities (Baiona, Cambados, Ribadumia and Vilanova de Arousa, in the province of Pontevedra in Galicia) and a municipality in the Italian region of Tuscany (Chiesina Uzzanese, province of Pistoia).

The projects system integrates sanitation and all its elements, including wastewater networks and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), with urban planning, taking into account the involvement of multiple actors and territories. This allows for dimensioning and planning according to current needs and future prospects, under economic constraints, environmental protections, population growth, and climate change.

In the first stage, data was collected and the beneficiaries established the volume of information necessary, in the required format, for a proper implementation of the SANePLAN system. Afterwards, the beneficiaries described the methodology, which included contacting data-owning authorities, comparing and correcting information, data processing and analysis. Data was collected from all five municipalities: Baiona (100 km of sanitation network, 2 200 pits, 30 pumps and 1 WWTP); Cambados, Ribadumia and Vilanova de Arousa (380 km of sanitation network, 6 700 pits, 65 pumps and 4 WWTPs); and Chiesina Uzzanese (15 km of sanitation network, 200 pits, 6 pumps and 2 WWTPs).

SANePLAN is a web application based on a client-server architecture. It is divided into three main layers: data, services and user interface. The server stores and manages relevant data for the sanitation infrastructure. SANePLAN is designed around two main areas: Pipes to serve the sanitation network and Treatment to cover the WWTPs.

The system was demonstrated using data gathered during the first stage of the project, involving information on pipelines, pits, sumps, pumps, stormwater tanks, discharge chambers and discharge points. To improve replicability, the beneficiaries developed a template that facilitates data loading into the system. The main features of the system are:

  • Maintenance: corrective and preventive tasks are registered and can be consulted;
  • Energy: map showing sewage pumping stations with information on their energy consumption and CO2 emissions;
  • Simulation: tool for checking whether the sanitation network can manage an increase of wastewater or stormwater;
  • Incidences: this tool contains information on 180 incidents that occurred in 5 scenarios;
  • Planning: simulations to check whether WWTPs have enough capacity to provide services in the event of new urban developments; and
  • Scenarios: simulations of water network capacity under population and climate changes.

SANePLAN includes an offline connection with the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), a software which allows mathematical modelling for sanitation networks developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

By linking information on sanitation infrastructures with urban planning, SANePLAN can help minimise the environmental impact of new urban developments or improvements in existing sanitation infrastructures. In addition, SANePLAN incorporates potential variations in rainfall patterns due to climate change.

In terms of socio-economic impacts, SANePLAN helps improving the social perception about the importance of the commitment of local agents as concerns best solutions in water sanitation. In addition, the projects communication activities contribute to increasing environmental awareness regarding clean water and highlight the high added-value of the SANePLAN system.

The beneficiaries carried out different tasks to foster the institutionalisation of SANePLAN. Overall, they signed agreements with 53 entities (40 in Spain and 13 in Italy). In most cases, technicians stated that SANePLAN is a useful management tool, but in 10 cases, entities committed to an even greater implementation, with information exchange between institutions and the dissemination and use of the SANePLAN system in their respective professional activities. Besides, a Business Plan for the commercial exploitation of SANePLAN was drawn up, including an analysis of potential markets and an assessment of the business and exploitation models. A potential new business line based on providing technical support has been considered the most suitable option.

In this regard, several entities have already shown interest in the SANePLAN system. The Provincial Council of Pontevedra (DEPO) is drafting an agreement to implement SANePLAN in other municipalities, as they consider it totally meets their needs regarding the management of water networks.

The projects SANePLAN system contributes to the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE), by reducing pressures on water bodies; Council Directive 91/271/EEC concerning Urban Waste Water Treatment, by helping to improve the adequacy of sanitation systems; Directive 2003/4/EC (Aarhus) on public access to environmental information, through the development of transparent governance; and the White Paper Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action (COM 2009/147). The project also helps rationalise the management costs of sanitation, by promoting joint management and operations. Furthermore, the implementation of SANePLAN will provide information for assessing seawater bodies status, according to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC), and for assessing risk events in sanitation systems (Directive 2008/114/EC on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures).

In 2018, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) selected SANePLAN as a good practice in the domain of “Water Governance” and it was included in the report “Evolving water governance practice” [http://www.oecd.org/cfe/regional-policy/evolving-water-governance-practices.htm]

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Water - Water management and supply


information system‚  integrated management‚  urban planning‚  water supply

Target EU Legislation

  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (M ...
  • Water
  • Directive 91/271 - Urban waste water treatment (21.05.1991)
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Type of organisation Research institution
Description The Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia Foundation (ITG), founded in 1991, is a private technology centre, which is recognised by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. It aims to improve the competitiveness of enterprises, organisations and professionals through research, technological development and professional services in the fields of construction and sustainability, the environment, energy efficiency, information technology and communications.
Partners Excelentísima Diputación Provincial de Pontevedra, Spain PHYSIS S.r.l., Italy


Project reference LIFE12 ENV/ES/000687
Duration 01-SEP-2013 to 28-FEB -2017
Total budget 1,513,376.00 €
EU contribution 756,688.00 €
Project location Galicia(España)


Read more:

Leaflet "SANePLAN: ¿Qué es SANePLAN? = What is SANePLAN? = ...
Poster Title: Project's panel A in EN-ES (1.32 MB) Editor: Instituto Tecnologico de Galicia No of pages: 1
Poster Title: Project's panel B in EN-IT (3.68 MB) Editor: Instituto Tecnologico de Galicia No of pages: 1
Poster Title: Project's panel B in EN-ES (597 KB) Editor: Instituto Tecnologico de Galicia No of pages: 1
Poster Title: Project's panel A in EN-IT (5.29 MB) Editor: Instituto Tecnologico de Galicia No of pages: 1
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan (Spanish version)
Publication: Article-Paper "SANePLAN, nuevas tecnologías para la gestión sost ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's final technical report (Spanish version)
Video link Demo Software SANePLAN
Video link Project's explanatory video on Youtube: "Planificación integrada y gestión sostenible de infraestructuras de saneamiento"(5 minutes narrated in Spanish with Italian and English subtitles)


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