Creation of a wooded area with drip irrigation using treated water in the municipality of Aguilas.
: This wooded area has been designed taking into account the different habitats of community interest in the Mediterranean biogeographic region in which the municipality of Águilas is located. From here, we have tried to reproduce them in 8 bioclimatic vegetation floors. Based on endemic vegetation and the arid conditions of our location, we thought it would be possible to create a forest area with a low water demand within the city. Thus we would be increasing the wooded areas around the urban area and the volume of water for urban irrigation by using treated water which is usually discarded in the sea, hence making use of surplus water from the municipal wastewater treatment plant. The action starts in the water treatment plant located in Las Mascaras Street (“El Labradorcico” industrial estate) from where a pipeline flows to a water pump responsible to raise the treated water to two 35 m3 tanks using solar power, from where this waterfalls down (by gravity) to the reservoir created within the framework of this project wooded area, which is located at 1.3 km from the treatment plant. (lifedapte, 2021).
Increased provisioning of ecosystem goods (e.g. Food, water, etc)
Increased infiltration, water retention and flood protection
Yes, tree cover significantly increases soil infiltration rates and storage thereafter, reducing runoff and helping to mitigate flooding (Zhang et al., 2019). The newly created wooden area, with a surface of 30,000 m2, will contribute towards reducing the risk of flooding through implemented sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) that prevent runoff of water and flooding and, at the same time, increase soil humidity.
Improved air quality
Yes, the wooded area will improve air quality by increasing vegetation cover over an area of 30,000 m2 which was previously devoid of arboreal vegetation.
Reduced drought risk, cooling effect, urban heat island mitigation
Yes, the increase of evapotranspiration in cities, derived from vegetation, urban agriculture, and water bodies, can effectively mitigate the effect of urban heat islands (QIU et al; 2013). In this context, measures such as increasing the volume of irrigation water and the surface of wooded areas of a territory are essential for mitigating temperature increase and stopping the process of desertification, as urban centers are important heat source and these green areas are able to significantly reduce the local temperature, reduce erosion and naturally increase the water reserve of a territory. (lifeadapte, 2021).
Biodiversity conservation or increased biodiversity
Yes, an increase in wooded areas permits an increase in biodiversity.
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Yes, by increasing tree cover, which is expected to contribute to an improved urban ecosystem services capacity.
Yes, the project plays an essential role in sustainable growth and the increase of ecosystem services. This newly created wooded area may be considered as a urban sprawl garden in Águilas. It can be considered as an urban expansion area, mainly due to the fact that this area was previously classified as a green zone in the urban planning regulations for the municipality.
Improved aesthetic value
Creation of green jobs relating to the construction and maintenance of NBS
Yes, the creation of this new area involved manpower, and its maintenance will imply an increased demand on human resources within the public garden maintenance service.
Increased access to green infrastructure
Increased willingness, participation, investment in NBS
Yes, with the construction of this forest area, the concept of public gardens has changed. From now on, the design of public gardens will take into account the use of endemic species with a low demand for water resources and a high adaptive capacity, instead of introduced exotic species.
Provision of health benefits
Yes, urban green interventions play an important role in creating a culture of health and wellbeing (Hunter at al; 2019).
Education, knowledge exchange and learning
Yes, this action is aimed at creating an informative space.
Low provisioning of ecosystem goods (e.g. Water, food)
Yes, this wooded area requires a low demand for drinking water because all irrigation water comes from urban wastewater treatment.
Low air quality
Drought and heat risk
Studies have shown that heat and drought waves in Europe are induced by the Mediterranean rainfall deficit (Vautard et al; 2007). This region has been subject to frequent and extensive forest fires in recent years. Based on future climate scenarios, the frequency and extent of large wildfires will increase throughout the Mediterranean Basin (Ruffault et al; 2020). Drought impact on society can be very high, being one of the natural disasters that cause more economic damage. The lack of water intensifies erosion, since the air and water drag away the surface particles of the soil, which leads to the loss of this fertile and protective layer. Thus, the regeneration of the vegetal cover becomes increasingly slower. In this context, measures such as increasing the volume of irrigation water and the surface area of wooded parts of a territory are essential for mitigating temperature increase and stopping the process of desertification, as urban centres are a significant heat source and these green areas are able to significantly reduce the local temperature, reduce erosion and naturally increase the water reserves of a territory. (lifeadapte, 2021).
Loss of biodiversity
Yes, the resulting occurrence of recurrent forest fires is a key factor in the impoverishment of biodiversity in forest ecosystems.
Yes, the region suffers from intensified soil erosion with a great impact on agriculture which it is the main source of Águilas's economy. (lifeadapte, 2021).
Low availability of green infrastructure
Yes, the very forest-friendly nature of the project has resulted in the use of the least possible resources for the necessary infrastructure elements. This area has benches, descriptive panels and overhead covers, all made of wood from environmentally friendly sources.
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
Yes, the SDG3 is well-represented in this project through an ideal circuit for outdoor sports, which also has a section of cycle path that runs longitudinally through the forest area, which also has several rest areas with shaded benches.
Clean water and sanitation (SDG6)
Yes, by promoting the saving of safe drinking water, as it has vegetation with low watering demands and an irrigation system based on the reuse of urban wastewater.
Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG9)
Yes, the use of new technologies have been implemented, mainly concerning the reuse of treated wastewater using photovoltaic solar energy and a system for remote control of the physico-chemical parameters of this recycled water.
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
Yes, urban trees are passively subject to and actively mitigate urban environmental pressures. They perform important urban ecosystem services and play a key role in contributing to sustainable cities. (Lüttge, Buckeridge, 2020).
Climate action, resilience, mitigation and adaptation (SDG13)
There is great demand for water which has intensified due to the incipient growth of the population (more than double the usual population) during the holiday season in summer and the enormous amount of water needed to carry out the main activity of the Águilas economy, which is agriculture. Droughts impact on society can be very high, being one of the natural disasters that cause a greater economic damage. The lack of water intensifies erosion, since the air and water drag the surface particles of the soil, which lead to the loss of this fertile and protective layer. (lifeadapte, 2021).
Terrestrial biodiversity (SDG15)
Yes, this project supports the representation of typical biogeographical habitats of the Mediterranean region, thanks to the availability of a significant volume of treated water which, if not reused for irrigation of public gardens, would flow into the Mediterranean Sea.
: Hunter, R.F., Cleland, C., Cleary, A., Droomers, M., Wheeler, B.W., Sinnett, D., Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J., Braubach, M. (2019). Environmental, health, wellbeing, social and equity effects of urban green space interventions: A meta-narrative evidence synthesis, Environment International (2019) 130, 104923. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.104923.
Ruffault, J., Curt, T., Moron, V., Trigo, R.M., Mouillot, F., Koutsias, N., Pimont, F., Martin-StPaul, N., Barbero, R., Dupuy, J-L., Russo, A., Belhadj-Khedher, Ch. (202). Increased likelihood of heat-induced large wildfires in the Mediterranean Basin. Sci Rep 10, 13790 (2020). Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-70069-z.
Vautard, R., Yiou, P., d’Andrea, F., de Noblet, N., Viovy, N., Cassou, C., Polcher, J., Ciais, P., Kageyama, M., Fan, Y. (2007). Summertime European heat and drought waves induced by wintertime Mediterranean rainfall deficit. Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (7), pp. 1-5. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GL028001.
Zhang, D., Wang, Z., Guo, Q., Lian, J., Chen, L. (2019). Increase and Spatial Variation in Soil Infiltration Rates Associated with Fibrous and Tap Tree Roots. Water 2019, 11, 1700. Retrieved from: doi:10.3390/w11081700.
Qiu, G., Li, H., Zhang, Q., Chen, W., Liang, X., Li, X. (2013). Effects of Evapotranspiration on Mitigation of Urban Temperature by Vegetation and Urban Agriculture. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, Vol. 12, No. 8, pp. 1307-1315. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2095-3119(13)60543-2.