Coastal demo site

Coast of Catalonia, ES

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The 600km long Catalan coast in north-eastern Spain presents a wide array of geographical and biodiversity systems that provide ecosystem services.

Although it is quite representative of other coastal regions and of the Mediterranean, this region is a hotspot that brings together tourism, natural and societal factors, economic activities and interests, urbanisation, agriculture, and critical infrastructure and industries, which compete for resources and make it highly vulnerable to climate change impacts.


Current climate impact trends will exacerbate existing problems regarding water supply, biodiversity loss, flooding and salination.

Contact this team | Contacta amb aquest equip | Contacta con este equipo :

  • Queralt Plana – queralt.plana[@]
  • Gabriel Borràs – gborras[@]


Flooding & salt intrusion

Biodiversity loss

Water supply

Ambitions within IMPETUS:

Use hybrid decentralised water management systems

to increase water availability and quality.

Enhance river sediment transport to the coast and the restoration of dunes and wetlands,

as well as monitoring methods, to mitigate sea-level rise and marine storms.

Assess resilience of drinking water plants

regarding increase of pathogens.

Predict trends of extreme events and related economic impacts.

to pave the way for:

Government of Catalonia to adopt the regional innovation package

as part of Work Programme on Climate Change Adaptation.

Large-scale citizen engagement and enhanced behavioural change.

Demonstrated solutions and adaptations available for knowledge transfer and replication by other coastal communities.

Test solutions:

Sand dune restoration

Technology Readiness Level 6-8

Human pressure, landscape use and how nature is valued affect beach dune systems and can result in conflicts of interests. Nature-based solutions such as dune restoration have been implemented in some systems, including the IMPETUS Catalonia coastal demo site.


  • Monitor and analyse the Catalonia dune system;
  • Continue and upscale dune restoration activities.

This work is linked with:

Sediment delivery to coastal areas through irrigation networks

Technology Readiness Level 5-7

Techniques to by-pass sediments in some reservoirs is seen as a solution to maintaining their capacity in coastal areas. Modelling the sediment transport capacity of rivers under present conditions is a key part of this approach, which is a measure to adapt to sea-level rise.


  • Elaborate on solutions to deliver river sediments to the most threatened coastal areas;
  • Use irrigation networks to deliver sediment to agricultural areas at or below sea-level;
  • Validate computational models to periodically review and adapt solutions.

This work is linked with:

Satellite-based coastal erosion hot-spot assessment

Technology Readiness Level 8-9

Impact on coastal erosion is assessed by studying effects of past and future alterations of wave dynamics and morpho-hydrological conditions.


  • Establish a consistent time and spatial coverage of the Catalan coast by combining reliable datasets with synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) detection;
  • Determine which areas are most vulnerable to coastal erosion, which will be key to identifying critical infrastructure in relation to the probable occurrence of extreme events.

This work is linked with:

  • ESA project ‘Coastal Change’
  • EO clinic Shoreline Mapping in the Gaza Strip (ESA, UNDP)
  • EU Destination Earth Initiative – DestinE

Economic impact assessment of physical climate risk

Technology Readiness Level 4-5

Socio-Economic tools and risk projections enable the assessment of climate risks and the establishment of projections and metrics regarding future investments.


  • Identify highly vulnerable hot-spots using open datasets for Copernicus services and satellite-derived variables;
  • Transform this knowledge into a specific regional model and include this in the Resilience Knowledge Booster;
  • Use the RKB and regional model to elaborate economic assessment metrics to aid decision making about investments and future mitigation plans.

This work is linked with:

  • European Investment Bank
  • European Central Bank

Below sea-level multifunctional wetlands

Technology Readiness Level 5-7

Constructed wetlands have been used to polish and treat urban wastewater are rarely applied to agricultural wastewater. Nutrients, metals, pesticides and organics have been successfuly removed at rates of 30-99%, based on various processes such as adsorption, precipitation, filtration, sedimentation, microbial degradation, and plant uptake.


  • Demonstrate feasibility for decentralised systems such as near-sea on-farm small wetlands;
  • Prove variable inlet flows improve performance for nutrient and organic pollutant removal, by including an adsorptive layer and innovative management systems (wet/dry periods) that maximise removal of specific pollutants before discharge.

This work is linked with:

Decentralised fit-for-use reclamation system

Technology Readiness Level 5-7

Decentralised treatment systems are commonly applied using conventional or advanced technologies such as a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and nature-based solutions (NBS) such as constructed wetlands (CWS) to treat grey water before discharge or re-use. Application has been limited to installations with constant inlet flow, presenting high energy or land requirements that hinder its use.


  • Demonstrate that decentralised reclamation compact technologies reclaim water with high-quality in installations with variable inlet flow and demands;
  • Demonstrate that in these circumstances energy requirements and the footprint of the system are reduced through the combination of treatments.

This work is linked with: