RICHWATER: Reclaimed water for agricultural purposes


Safe use of reclaimed water in agriculture

Technology verified through ETV programme

Optimisation of nutrients for irrigation

RichWater® is based on an innovative technology that combines the treatment of wastewater through a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR), a mixing module to obtain the optimal combination of clean and reclaimed water, and a control and monitoring unit through soil and water sensors.

This combination provides a reliable source of pathogen-free water and responds in real-time to the demand for irrigation and fertilization of each type of soil.

The implementation of this system in the agricultural production process implies a more sustainable use of water resources, savings on fertilizer and freshwater costs, and allows fruit and vegetable producers to adjust the fertigation by blending fresh and treated water to meet their specific needs. 

RichWater® offers an innovative solution that can supply a constant source of nutrient-rich water for use in agriculture and can complement other conventional sources such as well water and aquifers. This solution integrates both wastewater treatment and the irrigation module into a single system that offers the possibility of automating and controlling the volume of additional water and its quality through the use of sensors. The MBR has been designed in a way that the nutrients contained (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus) remain after treatment, while pathogens are eliminated.

It is a system of easy operation and maintenance that provides a high-quality effluent in compliance with the Spanish Royal Decree 1620/2017 and EU Regulation 2020/741 of the European Parliament and of the Council for irrigation in agriculture. 

The implementation of RichWater® acts as a driver in the modernization of the agricultural sector, advancing towards more resilient and efficient irrigation.

The treatment provided by RichWater® allows the recovery of nutrients, reducing the risk of environmental problems (e.g., eutrophication) due to diffuse pollution in the water. These nutrients can be directly assimilated by plants, resulting in savings in chemical fertilizers and economic benefits for farmers and irrigation communities.

This means a lower carbon footprint since CO2 emissions are avoided by the production, packaging, and transportation of fertilizers. 


Results obtained

  • Protype tested and validated in a real environment with a treatment capacity of 150 m3/day.  
  • E.Coli removal rates are above 99% as proved by the accredited analyses performed. Similarly, high nutrient recovery rates have been obtained:  69% of total Nitrogen recovery, 80% of total Phosphorus recovery, and 94% of Potassium recovery 
  • The prototype designed has included specific measures to reduce energy consumption: e.g. speed controllers for bigger motors (Blowers, recirculation pump), use more complex hidraulical installations to reduce the number of pumps, fluid modelling of the MBR tank for increasing the treatment capacity and optimize blower size and decrease fouling in membranes.  
  • ETV verification has been performed. The verification has confirmed that: RichWater produces a high-quality effluent which is appropriate for being used in agriculture and that RichWater is able to keep high levels of nutrients in the effluent. ETV verification provides confidence to potential customers about the benefits of RichWater and its compliance with water quality standards for reuse. 
  • Agronomic studies were conducted to compare effects of using reclaimed water in tomato crops. There were not significant differences between tomato crops irrigated with reclaimed water and conventional well water irrigation


BIOAZUL (España) 

ISITEC (Alemania) 

PESSL (Austria) 

SMS (Reino Unido) 

TTZ– Bremerhaven (Alemania) 

CSIC (España) 

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Status: Finished

Contract nº: 691402

Funding program H2020   

Duration: 01/02/2016 31/10/2018 (33 months)

Budget: 2,083,866.20 € (EC contribution: 1,658,703.13 €)

Contact person: Rafael Casielles (