Seville adapts to climate change with water as protagonist
The Red Cross Avenue-Life Watercool project in Seville, which begins in March, aims to adapt to climate change, with water as the protagonist, saving the resource, mitigating high temperatures and contemplates an environmental transformation promoted by Mayor Juan Espada.
Adaptation to climate change
The project is scheduled to start next March in the Andalusian capital and seeks to combat the consequences of climate change such as rising temperatures and the scarcity of water resources. The LIFE Watercool project, better known as the Avenida Cruz Roja-Ciudad Saludable project, is co-financed by the European LIFE program (LIFE18 CCA/ES/001122). The project aims to save and reuse water, especially runoff water, in order to reduce or increase the temperature of certain rooms – depending on the season -, achieve comfort zones for people and green the Macarena district, as well as promote energy savings. The development of the plan began with “a totally transparent process” of consultations, meetings and a survey of residents, explains Antonio Rodríguez, head of the Institutional Relations and Communications Division of Empresa Metropolitana de Abastecimiento y Saneamiento de Aguas de Sevilla (Emasesa), a partner in the project. According to Rodríguez, Avenida de la Cruz Roja is a 12-meter wide road that carries traffic from the north to the center of the city, where residents “endure” many polluting emissions due to the continuous passage of vehicles and every two minutes of a bus and a lot of noise.
Water as a protagonist
In this context and in view of the renovation works of the water supply and sewerage pipes “that are 70 years old” in the area, Emasesa considered “the transformation with an aesthetic vision but also to make it more habitable for the neighbors”. Emasesa and its director, Jaime Palop, are “committed to the fight against climate change and have a series of concerns about how to apply environmental criteria to all their works” in the city of Seville, the largest in southern Spain, and with very high temperature records in the summer. These environmental criteria have been taken into account in the works on two roads, the first as a pilot project was Calle Greco – where the works have been completed with “great acceptance” – and Avenida de la Cruz Roja, where the works will be awarded in March to start in April, according to the Emasesa representative. The Avenida de la Cruz Roja-LIFE Watercool project includes a “reorganization of traffic, with the aim of promoting the use of public transport, limiting the use of private vehicles, reducing emissions of polluting greenhouse gases that cause rising temperatures and problems for people’s health. The objective is also to improve the area, where are located -among others- the Virgen de la Cruz Roja hospital and an educational center, but also “the life of the neighbors, expanding pedestrian areas and green areas”.
The works contemplate the replacement of pipes in the subsoil, and in order to take advantage of the water, the placement of “drainage ditches” that allow part of the rainwater to be absorbed by the soil instead of going to the sewer, thus “recovering the water table of the city”. Rodríguez explains that this saving of water that does not reach the sewers and water treatment plants also allows energy savings, i.e. “a lower emission of carbon dioxide gases (CO2) into the environment”. For the pavement, a “heat and noise absorbing floor” will be used, in order to achieve more favorable conditions in the public spaces gained for pedestrians in the area.
Pedestrianization and greening of spaces
The process for the transformation of the Avenue began on February 21, 2019, with a presentation by Mayor Juan Espada of the project to the neighbors to raise four alternatives: pedestrianization, semi-pedestrianization, changing the bike lane or leaving the area in the current state. In order for the vote for any of the four options to take place in a participatory process “totally transparent with the neighbors and merchants of the district”, in addition to the meetings, information leaflets were distributed to reach the largest number of people, a web page was opened and the option was given to leave the completed leaflet in the district offices. In addition, for merchants in the area who are not registered in the district -a prerequisite for voting- a special form was made available so that they could participate in the process. Likewise, between 17-20 meetings were held with the participation of neighbors, associations, shopkeepers, political representatives, environmental and social NGOs, bicycle users and hospital staff, among others, “a wide range of what represents the civil society of Seville”. Pedestrianization was the most voted option in the survey carried out in “a fully transparent consultative process,” explains Rodriguez, who nevertheless, together with other members of the company and the municipal team of the district, have continued to hold meetings with neighbors to resolve doubts. Because it was necessary to explain “how to make compatible” the area to be pedestrianized with the service areas or the hospital, the representative of Emasesa, who points out that “many suggestions and proposals were collected that have improved the project”.
Thinking of people
Meetings have also been held with members of the Parents’ Association (AMPA) of the school, where the area of trees will be increased and solar panels will be placed to cool and heat the water, depending on the time of year. This will benefit both the school and the people who are located in the different rooms waiting for the children to leave in order to “have adequate climatic conditions”, in the benches or bus stops where cooling or water heating systems will be placed. “In the voting 593 people participated, not counting the stores, a very high percentage”, according to the representative of Emasesa, taking into account that it is a neighborhood of low houses, of one or two floors. Among the dissidents of the transformation have been the defenders of the use of private vehicles, says the representative of the company, however, ensures that the project responds to “the new philosophy of the city” of Mayor Juan Espada that seeks to gain space for people and green the city. EFE Information provided by EFEverde of the EFE Agency and published in the framework of its participation in the Life WaterCool project of the European Union.
The contents of this document reflect the views only of the authors and the European Union/EASME is not responsible for the use of its contents.
the European Union/EASME is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.
for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.
About LIFE18 CCA/ES/001122
Life Invasaqua is co-financed by the EU under the Life initiative and coordinated by Emasesa. This European project aims to: develop and test innovative solutions to cope with high temperatures, both outdoors and indoors, and with temporary water runoff and drought situations in an urban environment subject to climate change.