Summer school and XII ISSE: LCA and related water management issues, Girona, 3rd to 7th of September

About Water management issues and LCA

Apart from being essential to life, water plays a fundamental role in economic development. The high diversity of uses (domestic, industrial, agricultural, recreative, etc.), as well as potabilisation and wastewater treatment technologies, makes it necessary to apply an objective methodology such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in order to assess and decide on their environmental impacts. Life Cycle Assessment is a scientific methodology to assess the environmentalimpact of a product, system or service along its life-cycle. This starts with the extraction of raw materials; follows with the manufacturing, distribution and use stages; and ends with the treatment of waste or byproducts. All this information allows us to avoid transfer of burdens between life cycle stages, geographical regions or environmental impact categories. For example, reducing the amount of material to manufacture a product (i.e. a washing machine, a car or a wastewater treatment plant) while not increasing energy consumption during its use or consumption.

Involved institutions

In September 2012, from the 3rd to the 7th, the Laboratory of Environmental and Chemical Engineering (LEQUIA) and the Institute of the Environment of the University of Girona organized the 12th International Summer School for the Environment (ISSE) focused on “Life Cycle Assessment and Water issues”. It was framed within the European project Ecotech-Sudoe ( Following the Lisbon Strategy, the research project Ecotech-Sudoe aims to merge sustainability and competitiveness. Ecotechnologies are powerful tools to achieve this, while providing the same level of service but with lower environmental and social impacts. They are based on emerging and promising research areas, such as social and environmental LCA (Life Cycle Analysis), ecodesign, and industrial and territorial ecology. Funded by Europa/ERDF, the Ecotech-Sudoe project focuses on these issues at the Sudoe European space scale, which includes Spain, Portugal and four south-west regions of France. ISSE 2012 brought together international experts on LCA and water, from both the academic and businessfields, some of them from the ECOTECH-SUDOE project, others external. This short, intensive and highly specialized course was focused on LCA methodology and its application to estimate the water use impacts of the different phases of the urban or anthropogenic water cycle. The Summer School was organized in different sessions related to the use of water by human activities, and its impact on the environment using LCA methodology: LCA introduction, introduction to the water cycle, LCA in drinking water treatment, LCA in (conventional and natural) wastewater treatment, LCA in agriculture, LCA in industrial wastewater treatment, LCA in rain harvesting, LCA in water reuse, water and energy and LCA and decision support systems.

The Event

The 1st Summer school of Ecotech-Sudoe and the XII International Summer School on the Environment of the UdG (ISSE), started on 3rd of September and finished on 7th of September of 2012. There was an attendance of 34 people from 9 different nationalities and 14 institutions/companies Conferences were given by 19 teachers from different countries and institutions. The school was an intensive 26 hours course which brought together experts and practitioners from different origins (researchers, students…) and with different levels of expertise in LCA. It was focused mainly on the application of LCA in all the urban water cycle. The course started on Monday 3rdSeptember with an introduction to the urban water cycle and an introduction to LCA methodology. On Tuesday, the theoretical classes of the morning explained the application of LCA methodology in water treatments: firstly, application in drinking water and then in wastewater treatment (for soft treatments and conventional treatments) and finally in sewer systems. Practical class of  Tuesday was an introduction to SimaPro for those who did not know this tool. On Wednesday, the theoretical classes were focused on other themes where urban water plays an important role. For this reason, the classes were focused on agriculture, industries and rainwater harvesting. On Wednesday afternoon there was also a practical class with the application of SimaPro in wastewater treatments, and then a round table with a discussion about LCA application with professionals of LCA. On Thursday the classes were focused on the use of LCA methodology in Decision Support Systems, the water energy nexus, and finally the application of LCA in water reuse. In the afternoon there was a practical lesson on a DSS program with LCA applied as environmental criteria, and after this, there was a class about a new database of LCA followed by conclusions about the Summer school. Finally, on Friday we did a field trip in the secondary and tertiary treatment of the Empuriabrava WWTP and its integration into the natural wetlands of Empordà. After that, we went to lunch next to the coast.

Classes presentations and videos


LCA introduction. Miquel Rigola  (video)

Introduction to Water cycle. Manel Poch  (video)


LCA in Drinking water treatment. Desirée Marín

LCA in Wastewater treatment. Natural systems + sewer systems. Philippe Roux i Eva Risch  (video)

LCA in Wastewater treatment. Conventional systems. Almudena Hospido  (video)

LCA software. Marta Fontseré


LCA in agriculture. Assumpció Antón  (video)

Wastewater in industries. Luis Arroja (video)

LCA in wastewater (practical example). Lluís Corominas and Serni Morera


Decision Support Systems. Quim Comas and Manel Garrido (video)

Water and Energy. Gustaf Olsson  (video)

LCA in water reuse. Montse Meneses  (video)

Selection of Wastewater treatment Techniques. Rubén Reif and Manel Garrido

Database Availability. Carles M. Gasol and Xavier Gabarrell

General Downloads

Electronic book

Book in pdf format