Successful conclusion of the Watertur project to optimise the water cycle in hotels

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Successful conclusion of the Watertur project to optimise the water cycle in hotels

January 26, 2022

Sorigué has taken part in this initiative, which includes new technologies for wastewater treatment, an automatic system for controlling consumption and reagents in swimming pools and an online platform for assessing the environmental impact of hotel facilities.

After 36 months of operation, the Watertur project has demonstrated that it is possible to improve water cycle management and reduce water consumption in hotel facilities. The positive results of this work, carried out by different organisations, provide new stimulus to the Catalan hotel sector after the pandemic, as it can not only position itself as a benchmark in sustainable practices, but also improve its competitiveness in the face of the foreseeable implementation of stricter environmental regulations.  

 Watertur, which had a total budget of €1,536,798, is part of the RIS3CAT water community, promoted and coordinated by the Catalan Water Cluster. These communities receive funding from the Catalan Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACCIÓ) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and their aim is to combine efforts among companies, universities and research centres to integrate innovation into key sectors of the Catalan economy.  

The place chosen for the implementation of this project was Vilar Rural in Sant Hilari Sacalm, where the three proposals put forward by Watertur were validated and operated either partially or in full. 

Three sustainable ideas 

The first of these technologies was an anaerobic membrane bioreactor operated in conjunction with a vertical wall coupled with a bioelectrochemical system. An innovative solution developed by Sorigué, in cooperation with the company Aeris Tecnologías Ambientales and the LEITAT technology centre. The bioreactor has not only guaranteed 83% efficiency in the reduction of organic matter in wastewater, but has also removed 100% of pathogens from the effluent thanks to its membrane system. 

The vertical wall, on the other hand, showed 65% efficiency in organic matter removal and 75% lower operating costs compared to traditional systems. In addition, the bioelectrochemical system generates electricity to ensure its off-grid operational autonomy. This opens the door to the reuse of reclaimed water for a hotel’s own uses, such as watering or cleaning. 

The company Fluidra was responsible for the second component of the project, a technology designed to control the consumption of water and reagents in swimming pools. This intelligent system allows 24-hour monitoring of the water cycle throughout the year, automating between 20% and 50% of the chemical parameters of the hotel facilities with a 10% reduction in data collection time. It also provides 90% coverage for swimming pools in the tourist sector and will be adapted, again by 90%, to the regulatory frameworks for commercial and public swimming pools.   

Lastly, the company Anthesis Lavola was commissioned to develop an environmental impact assessment tool specifically designed for hotels. Two universal sustainability indicators (water and carbon footprint) were measured consecutively using an easy-to-use and easy-to-interpret online platform. An effective method for quantitatively assessing the impact of hotel activities over time and calculating environmental improvements. 

Thanks to the versatility and modular nature of the three technologies tested by the project in Vilar Rural de Sant Hilari Sacalm, it is feasible to implement them, either partially or in full, in other hotels according to their particular needs, as well as their development for other facilities such as public swimming pools or camp sites.