The LIFE EBRO-ADMICLIM project proposes pilot actions of mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the Ebro Delta (Catalonia, Spain) – an area vulnerable to sea level rises and subsidence. It proposes an integrated management of water, sediments and habitats (rice fields and wetlands) with the following multiple objectives:
– Optimizing increases in land elevation
– Reducing coastal erosion
– Increasing the accumulation (sequestering) of carbon in the soil
– Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
– Improving water quality
In other words, the aim is a combined management of the inputs of inorganic matter (sediments) and organic matter with the objective of optimizing the processes of vertical accretion (soil formation) and organic matter decomposition (GHG emissions) in the rice fields and artificial wetlands. This approach has never previously been carried out in the European Union and is clearly innovative on a worldwide scale.
The principal pilot actions of adaptation are focussed on transferring sediments from the river Ebro to the Delta. The aim is to demonstrate the viability of restoring sediment flow permanently, from both the CAT (Consorci d’Aigües de Tarragona, Tarragona Water Consortium) water treatment plant and from the reservoirs on the lower stretch of the river. To this end, we first need to carry out a good assessment of the transportation capacity of the river and canals.
The pilot actions in the rice fields and wetlands are aimed at optimizing GHG emissions, carbon and nutrient sequestration and increasing the ground level of the Delta.
The results will be used to draw up the directives of the programme of mitigation and adaptation measures, with emphasis on the rice production sector. Improving the GHG emission and carbon sequestration rates via a change in management practices (for example, a more efficient water use management) can represent a significant improvement which could be applied to other wetland and rice cultivation areas in the European Union.