The Ruagua project, promoted by the Aguas de Valdeorras, Aquaourense and Cetaqua Consortium, has been selected as one of the three winning proposals to join the DEMOS project, an initiative by the COTEC Foundation that seeks to measure the social, economic and environmental impact of the circular economy in rural communities.
The purpose of Ruagua is to generate a positive impact from the circular economy in the municipality of A Rúa (Ourense), through recovery from the water-energy-waste axes, establishing a replicable model of rural-industrial symbiosis.
The water axis will provide comprehensive, digital and streamlined use of reclaimed water to all production sectors and public services, promoting sustainability through a cooperative governance model to ensure water availability during times of drought, thus reducing water stress in this rural environment. The alternative water resource will be used in the municipality itself to maintain the main economic activities, including wine production. At the same time, it will favour the environmental health of the surroundings by irrigating green areas, parks and gardens, protecting the ecological flow of bodies of water and caring for biodiversity and the protection of inhabited areas, through infrastructures that facilitate fire prevention and extinguishing, helping to reduce water stress in the municipality.
In addition, the waste-energy axis will promote zero waste and reduce the use of fertilisers and chemicals, offering high- quality compost, and promote the production of solar energy as a renewable source, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Ruagua has been given a budget of 300,000 euros and benefits from the joint development and measurement work undertaken by the COTEC Foundation and the participation of all local stakeholders interested in water reuse and co- governance. The project is an example of public-private partnership between the government, with the support of the A Rúa Town Council and Ourense Provincial Council; the wine sector, with the participation of the Valdeorras Designation of Origin; the tourism sector, with the Valdeorras Wine Route; private enterprise, with Aquaourense; the water technology centre, Cetaqua; public services, such as the Ourense Provincial Fire and Rescue Consortium, and the inhabitants of A Rúa.
The DEMOS project is part of the Allen Plan of the company IKEA, a COTEC Advisory Member. The Allen Plan is an initiative by IKEA to contribute to the recovery of the Spanish economy and society. Its main aim is to create employment and promote sustainable development. The Allen Plan will be carried out between 2022 and 2025. Along with COTEC, three other institutions are also involved in the Allen Plan: the WWF, FADEMUR and ASHOKA.