LIFE Matrix: Safe water reuse

Using reclaimed water, the solution to water stress

Droughts have become increasingly frequent in the EU. One third of the EU territory experiences water stress, which is particularly intense in regions with seasonal demands that compromise the availability of natural water resources.

The decreasing water availability and increasing water demands are usually correlated to the deterioration of the ecological, chemical and quantitative status of surface and groundwater bodies. This leads to aquifer overexploitation and salinization in coastal areas.

The LIFE Matrix project aims to demonstrate the technical, environmental and health feasibility of a Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) system using reclaimed water: treated wastewater subjected to complementary treatment processes for reuse.

The LIFE Matrix solution consists of a combination of three aspects: physical, which is based on the adequacy of the quality of reclaimed water for recharge into the aquifer; digital, which integrates all the information in a risk management tool; and governance, which is based on the establishment of guidelines that contribute to the standardisation this recharge system under a legal or regulatory framework at national and European level.

Current situation

  1. Groundwater extraction by pumping
  2. Natural groundwater level
  3. Water level due to overexploitation
  4. Saline intrusion leads to aquifer salinisation

LIFE Matrix solution

  1. EDAR: Reclaimed water from WWTP
  2. Artificial wetland: Reduces salinity and improves water quality
  3. Infiltration basin: Nutrients and emerging pollutants decrease in concentration and groundwater levels rise
  4. Water level by aquifer recovery
  5. Reduction of saline intrusion