Regulatory framework for drinking water, wastewater discharge and reuse
The responsibility for coordinating and legislating drinking water quality lies with the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality (MSPSI). Regulation is carried out by autonomous regional governments (CCAA) while municipal administrations are responsible for overseeing the safe provision of drinking water. Responsibility for legislating for surface and groundwater quality, wastewater discharge and reuse is held by the Ministry of the Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM). Regulation is carried out by River Basin Management Authorities, which are local representatives of MARM, and by the CCAAs.
Drinking water quality regulations
The current EU Drinking Water Directive 98/83/EC (DWD) on the quality of water intended for human consumption was transposed into Spanish law by RD140/2003. As well as it sets the same parameters as the DWD is also gives specific values to the following parameters.
Municipal and industrial wastewater quality regulations
The defining EU regulations are the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive 91/271/EEC (UWWTD) and the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD) (see sections 13.3 and 13.5 in the Overview of EU regulation chapter). The first one was transposed into Spanish law by RD-L11/1995 and RD509/1996. The WFD was partially transposed by Law 62/2003, including aspects of the directive relating to the environmental objectives for surface and groundwater quality.
Water reuse regulations
While earlier water legislation mentioned water reuse and made an administrative permit obligatory before reuse could be undertaken, the legal framework for water reuse was created by the water reuse law RD1620/2007.
Water in industry: Chemicals
According to the most recent detailed statistics for Spain from 1999 from the National Statistics Institute (INE), the industry which generated most wastewater in Spain was the chemical (including plastics and rubber) sector, with around 1.2 million m³/d. However, according to the Spanish chemicals industry association FEIQUE reuse of wastewater had helped reduce the sector’s water consumption from the public supply network from 1.53 million m³/d in 2003 to 1.29 million m³/d in 2005. The principal hub of the chemicals industry is Catalonia which accounts for over 60% of the large chemicals companies, with other important centres of production in Madrid, Andalusia and Valencia. The industry is the third most important in the Spanish economy, generating 11.3% of Spain’s GDP in 2009, according to FEIQUE.
Future regulatory scenario and conclusions
MARM has no plans for major new regulatory initiatives. However the revised river basin management plans may require the rewriting and updating of legislation relating to the public water domain in order to adapt older laws and regulations to the new requirements contained in the plans. These plans were due to be completed by December 2009 under the requirements of the WFD but, so far, only one plan (for the internal river basins in Catalonia) has been completed out of 17.
List of laws, standards and policies