The LIFE ECOGRANULARWATER Project is a “Drinking water” project approved within the “Environment and Resource Efficiency” focus area of the 2016 Call of the LIFE Programme.

It aims to demonstrate the efficiency of technology based on biological methods for the removal of nitrates, phosphates, pesticides and other pollutants from groundwater supplies for human consumption. The project proposes a low-cost technology solution for municipalities affected by this environmental problem.

The project will be implemented by a partnership integrated by the University of Granada (Spain), Aalto University (Finland), Construcciones Otero Company (Spain), Gedar Company (Spain)), and the Provincial Council of Granada (Spain), which acts as partnership coordinator.

The proposed technology will be installed in the municipality of Torre Cardela (Granada province), where high levels of nitrate concentration have been detected in the groundwater supply. At current, a reverse osmosis system is being used in compliance with the RD 140/2003, which establishes the health criteria for the quality of water used for human consumption, as well as Drinking Water Directive 98/83/UE and Directive 2013/39/UE, (amending Directives 2000/60/UE, Water Framework Directive, and 2008/15/UE priority substances in water policy). The project will be developed between the 1st of September 2017 and the 30th of April 2021.

Water bodies pollution by nitrates and other pollutants are mainly caused by excessive or inadequate use of fertilizers and plant-protection products in agriculture. Between 2011 and 2015 two of the partners of this project (Granada University and Provincial Council of Granada), together with two local companies (Paisajes del Sur and Bonterra Ibérica) carried out the EUTROMED LIFE project. Among others actions, preventive measures aimed to the optimization of nitrogen fertilization by the farmers were developed. The objective was to avoid nitrate pollution in water bodies. In this way, the Provincial Council of Granada has been working through new projects supported by the Network of Municipalities from Granada Province towards sustainability. More info at


First contact by the health authority

Inspectors from the Territorial Health Delegation of Granada have made an initial visit to Torre Cardela to assess first-hand the biological system installed in the drinking water treatment plant for the removal of nitrates from water intended for human consumption.

The system shows nitrate removal performance close to 80 %

The results of the commissioning of the biological treatment plant have been published in the scientific Journal of Water Process Engineering.

New interviews for the project video

On 4th February, new interviews with key actors of the LIFE ECOGRANULARWATER project were recorded and will form part of the final video of the project.

The new bioreactors have been inoculated, which will increase the volume of treated water

On 1st February, the third of the bioreactors installed was inoculated, leaving the entire prototype in operation, still in the testing phase.

The influence of lobbies in the urban water pricing. The case of Torre Cardela.

Contrary to the foreseen hypothesis, the study carried out in Torre Cardela shows that the population linked to agriculture would be willing to accept an increase in the water rates between 15% and 25%.

LIFE ECOGRANULARWATER present on the small screen

ConCiencia, the Canal Sur programme, has dedicated a space to this interesting project that affects such a basic good as drinking water.