Riba-roja de Túria

Climate adaptation

GUARDIAN - Green Urban Actions for Resilient fire Defence of the Interface Area

GUARDIAN is a pioneering model of sustainable, innovative management of the natural environment, which will ensure the safety of the citizens of Riba-roja and contribute to the preservation of the Natural Park of Túria and La Vallesa. 

Robert Raga Gadea, Mayor of Riba-roja
The project in numbers
59
forest fires in the area, during the period 2000-2016
15,000
inhabitants potentially affected by fires in the wildland-urban interface
+50% to +100%
expected increase in forest fire danger in the region during the present century, due to climate change (source: JRC 2016)
EUR 4,395,803.80
Total ERDF budget granted
Challenge addressed

The urban areas of Riba-roja and Paterna, share the protected wildland zone “La Vallesa”, which is part of the Natural Park “Parque Natural del Turia”, located in a highly urbanised environment. The wildland-urban interface between this park and these two cities is subject to the growing risk posed by forest fires, further impacted by the effects of climate change. This hazard is maximised by its progressive incorporation within the urban area and certain degradation (agriculture abandonment, insufficient forestry management). As an example, in the period 2000-2016, the Riba-roja area experienced 40 forest fires, while that of Paterna recorded 19. These fires are becoming more frequent in the last years, and potentially more destructive due to the rapid urban development.

Solution proposed

The project adopts a combined strategy based on the use of recycled water for fire mitigation and protection, providing preventive irrigation and extinction water spraying patterns automatically programmed. GUARDIAN will implement the hydraulic infrastructure to supply recycled water from the Waste Water Treatment Plant Camp del Turia II to the Wildland-Urban Interface of La Vallesa, and the elements (irrigation and sprinkler towers) which make up the defensive barrier. The installation, positioned in the fire line between forests and urban areas, will integrate irrigation and fireplugs with high-pressure hydrant cannons covering the perimeter. 
The operation of the fire prevention and suppression infrastructure will be based on sensor networks and forecast services processed by an automatic system.
In order to support this hydraulic infrastructure, GUARDIAN will also make use of an existing wetland (Vallesa pond) as an emergency reservoir added to tanks in the system. In order to achieve the required water quality for the project’s goals, a modular advanced water treatment will be implemented at the existing facility.
Furthermore, soil and vegetation works (reduction of tree density, particularly sunken or enfeebled ones, ladder fuels, pruning, shrub spacing, slash and vegetation debris reduction etc.) will be carried out, improving the ecologic conditions and the fire resilience of the Vallesa forest.
Last but not least, training to upgrade the preparedness of the population will be carried out, in order to enhance risk perception, create awareness on fire mechanisms, communicate the basis of the project and improve self-protection (fire resilient gardening, household protection…).

Partnership
  • Riba-roja de Túria
  • Paterna
  • Hidraqua - public water management company
  • Medi XXI - SME
  • Cetaqua - higher education and research institutes
  • IIAMA, Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) - higher education and research institute
  • University of Valencia - higher education and research institute
Expected results

The project will raise the degree of protection and resilience against the impact of fires in the urban-wildland interface. This result will be based on the implementation of surveillance and detection, defensive infrastructures, forestry management and improved self-protection capacities for citizens. 
GUARDIAN will also enhance the ecologic condition of the Turia Natural Park peri-urban area, recovering abandoned agriculture parcels and restoring the degraded Vallesa wetland. This output will also provide a valuable green area for the enjoyment of the citizens of Riba-Roja.
The new waste water treatment module will give access to a new water resource (recycled water) for further uses, and avoid the discharge of pesticides and other pollutants to the Turia River.

Main milestones

May 2019: Fieldwork and sensor deployment plan delivered. Detailed design of the advanced waste water treatment module. First forestry management campaign. First self-protection and awareness training for citizens.
December 2019: Detailed definition of the fire protection infrastructure. Waste water treatment module installation. 
April 2020: Second forestry management campaign and green belt planting. End of waste water treatment module tests, ready for operation.
November 2020: Fire protection infrastructure operative. Start of hydraulic system tests. Guardian CCS (automated command system) delivered.
April 2021: Second self-protection training and local communication actions.  Third forestry management campaign. Full system ready for automated operation.
November 2021: Summer campaign conclusions. Final social, environmental and economic analysis of results, including replicability and transferability criteria.
 

The project in numbers
59
forest fires in the area, during the period 2000-2016
15,000
inhabitants potentially affected by fires in the wildland-urban interface
+50% to +100%
expected increase in forest fire danger in the region during the present century, due to climate change (source: JRC 2016)
EUR 4,395,803.80
Total ERDF budget granted
Contact of the project
Vicente Adobes Golfe
Project manager

Project News

GUARDIAN at Efiaqua event

GUARDIAN stand and presentations at the International Fair for Efficient Water Management (EFIAQUA)

The GUARDIAN project has been showcased at Efiaqua, the International Fair for Efficient Water Management, through a dedicated stand and two round tab...

Media

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