13 Apr European Riverprize – 2016
Winner: Segura River Project
The Segura River Project was developed by the Murcia Government’s Regional Water Department in partnership with the Segura River Authority and town councils in the region. It aims to restore the health of the Segura River and to supply reclaimed water to the booming agriculture industry.
Between 2001 and 2010, 100 water treatment plants and 350 kilometres of wastewater collection systems were built. In addition, a wastewater reclamation levy was established to finance the operation, maintenance and monitoring of these systems, applying the principle ‘the polluter pays’.
A major breakthrough was achieved in 2003 when the quality of the Segura’s water started improving. Since 2010, pollution has been unnoticeable, leading to the recovery of fauna and flora including increased otter population in parts of the river they had once abandoned. Birds now rest at two recovered wetland areas recognised by the Ramsar Convention, during their migration between Europe and Africa. In addition, around 110 million m3 of reclaimed water is reused annually for agriculture in the region.
“I sincerely would like to thank the International RiverFoundation for an award that reinforces our commitment to continue working in the restoration of the Segura River. The European Riverprize also encourages us to join the IRF’s admirable international task of river recovery and offer our experience with the hope of helping others.” – Miguel-Angel Rodenas, President, Segura River Basin Authority.
“The Segura river management is a great example of an integrated approach with environmental, social and economic restoration activities. The established management framework includes a solid science foundation and shared governance, while the catchment management planning process was ahead of the European legislation requirement. These demonstrated innovations created almost a miracle under the scorching sun of Spain!” – Bart Fokkens, Chair of the European Centre for River Restoration.