LIFE16 ENV/ES/000533

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

Contact details:

Contact person: Carlos AMEIXENDA MOSQUERA
Tel: 34981647909
Fax: 34981673050
Email: carlosameijenda@gmail.com

Project description:


In urban areas, pollution of springs and wells often makes it impossible to consume water from natural sources. As a result, drinking fountains become connected to water supply networks, or are abandoned or marked as “unsafe”. Natural water fountains have been excluded from guidelines in the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) in most EU Member States. Nevertheless, in rural areas it is possible to find aquifers with a good status, and traditional fountains being used as a water source beyond the reach of networks or as a back-up when water supply networks fail.

Galicia in Spain is rich in water resources and traditional fountains are common. Although no water purification systems are installed, the water is of good quality and the fountains are widely used. An earlier LIFE project (RURAL SUPPLIES - LIFE12 ENV/ES/000557) showed that natural drinking fountains can be affected by microbiological contamination when deficiencies occur in the protection of water catchments against organic matter (usually manure), a lack of maintenance and the absence of disinfection. This encourages potential users to drink bottled water instead. The presence of drinking fountains of good water quality along major walking routes, such as the Camino de Santiago in Galicia, could reduce consumption of bottled water and provide an inspiration to those responsible for managing other long-distance paths in Europe.


The main objective of the LIFE WATER WAY project is to develop a strategy in accordance with the Drinking Water Directive to recover traditional public drinking fountains as a micro-supply solution in areas where centralised water consumption networks have no reach.

Specific objectives of the project include:

  • Designing an Action Protocol for the recovery of traditional drinking fountains based on risk assessment and management, with input from technical experts from three administrations with competence in the project area (water supply, health monitoring and public water management);
  • Demonstrating an innovative and cost-efficient treatment system for drinking fountains;
  • Achieving service sustainability by introducing a new approach that shifts cost recovery to the user, with level of service cost analysed in the prototypes, to give the initiative sustainability and promote responsible consumption;
  • Implementing the measures along St James’ Way (“Camino de Santiago”) where there is a massive influx of eco-tourists and pilgrims traveling by foot and therefore consuming a considerable amount of water; and
  • Providing tools that encourage replication of this initiative in other municipalities.
  • As well as supporting the aims of the Drinking Water Directive, this project is in line with the Water Framework Directive’s (2000/60/EC) goals of promoting responsible water consumption. It has the potential to be replicated in many rural areas in Europe facing water supply problems.

    Expected results:

  • A good practices guide for local authority technicians to ensure that drinking water from natural sources is healthy;
  • Development of the necessary equipment to enable water purification, and a vending type supply system for potential users in order to cover the service maintenance costs;
  • Installation of 27 drinking water supply points of guaranteed good quality along a 155.2 km stretch of the St James’ Way in Galicia, a route taken by more than 12 000 pilgrims in 2016. The fountains will be 5.57 km apart, a distance that will take a healthy person about an hour to walk;
  • An annual supply of 100 m3 of drinking water from recovered springs, equivalent to the consumption of 7 440 users (62% of pilgrims);
  • Use of the fountains will lead to a reduction in use of plastic bottles of some 1.5 tonnes/year;
  • Consumption of 3 011 kWh year of renewable energy, for pumping and water treatment in the pilot micro-supply; and
  • Replication of the system in 90 Galician municipalities along the "Camino de Santiago".



Environmental issues addressed:


Water - Water management and supply


drinking water‚  water supply‚  water resources management

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 98/83 - Quality of water intended for human consumption (03.11.1998)
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Ayuntamiento de Abegondo (Municipality of Abegondo)
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The Ayuntamiento de Abegondo (Town Council of Abegondo) is the legislative body that governs the municipality of Abengondo, which is located in the province of A Coruña (Galicia). The municipality has a population 5 586 inhabitants (2015 census) and a total area of 84 km2.
Partners ASOCIACIÓN DE DESENVOLVEMENTO RURAL MARIÑAS-BETANZOS, Spain Augas de Galicia (Authority river basin of Galicia Costa), Spain Galician Ministry of Health (Consellería de Sanidade), Spain Seko Ibérica Sistemas de Dosificación S.A., Spain


Project reference LIFE16 ENV/ES/000533
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 30-JUN -2021
Total budget 973,408.00 €
EU contribution 369,552.00 €
Project location Galicia(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


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