LIFE Project Cover Photo

Implementation of the river Duero basin management plan in the Central-South part of the river Duero basin

Reference: LIFE16 IPE/ES/000019 | Acronym: RBMP-DUERO



The Duero river basin is an international basin shared by Spain and Portugal. It is located mainly within a Mediterranean climatic area, though water availability and desertification are not significant problems when compared with other Spanish catchments. However, the basin is located within a climate change hotspot and is not currently affected by water scarcity. Therefore, changes in the basin can be observed as an indicator of future changes across Europe. This makes the basin a useful test-lab in terms of adaptation needs as Europe faces challenges in terms of water resources management.

The Duero River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) is the key instrument for the management of water resources and the achievement of good status of water bodies according to the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). In addition, it helps implement the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC), the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC), the Groundwater Directive (2006/118/EC), the Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) and other regulations. This RBMP is also linked to issues such as nature conservation, particularly the enhancement of rivers and wetlands as key habitats for increased biodiversity.


The objective of LIFE-IP RBMP-DUERO is to support compliance with the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Waste Water Treatment (UWWT) Directive, the Groundwater Directive (GWD), the Floods Directive (FD) and the Habitats Directive, by implementing the Duero River Basin Management Plan (RBMP).

The project will implement the RBMP in three sub-basins, those of the rivers Trabancos, Zapardiel and Arevalillo, where water bodies do not reach good ecological status, using a plan and corresponding measures. These will target issues like poor water body status, diffuse pollution and wastewater discharges, overexploitation of groundwater, river and wetlands restoration, biodiversity loss, and risk of floods or drought. Climate change is expected to have significant impacts, mainly by exacerbating existing problems.

As a primary aim, the project will design integrated tools that combine innovative approaches, namely:

  • Natural infrastructure (i.e. natural water retention measures);
  • Improved public participation, stakeholder engagement and communication;
  • Green economy (i.e. valuation of watershed environmental services); and
  • Better governance of water resources to address known problems and challenges, in line with, and if possible beyond, regulatory requirements.

    In addition, a supporting objective is to help create synergies between water policies and other sectorial policies (e.g. agriculture), to develop effective and well-coordinated actions. A final supporting goal is to raise awareness of environmental problems and the importance of water and other natural capital in terms of climate change adaptation, to promote the participation of water users and relevant stakeholders.

    Expected results:

  • Restoration of at least 80 km of sections of river courses;
  • Achievement of good ecological status for 11 water bodies;
  • Improved river continuity by actions on at least 10 existing barriers;
  • Establishment of a wetland recovery strategy, and the recovery of at least 20 of the 30 wetlands located in the project’s area;
  • Enhanced aquifer recharge, by improving the connection between surface water flows and groundwater;
  • Creation of new economic activities related to eco-tourism;
  • Recovery of at least 50% of the piezometriclevel of Medina del Campo aquifer to enhance its chemical status;
  • Restoration of natural ecosystems using recycled water;
  • Reduced flood risk and damage in the town of Medina del Campo;
  • Creation of new recreational areas close to rivers and wetlands, including 25 wooden bird-watching huts;
  • Restoration of 3 water mills and other hydraulic heritage;
  • Draft of a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for a sub-basin;
  • Transformation of at least 5 000 ha from irrigated to rain-fed crops, avoiding the extraction of 15 HM3 from the aquifer;
  • Creation of 300 ha of new forested areas, improving the Nature 2000 network and increasing carbon sequestration; and
  • Development of a training programme for farmers on environmentally-friendly practices.

    In addition to the IP budget itself the project will facilitate the coordinated use of 8,525,000 EUR complementary funding from ERDF, H2020 and other public national funds. These complementary actions aim to support the implementation of the UWWT Directive, the Operation Programmes and Rural Development Plans linked to environmental challenges and water governance.


    Reference: LIFE16 IPE/ES/000019
    Acronym: RBMP-DUERO
    Start Date: 01/01/2018
    End Date: 31/12/2026
    Total Budget: 11,166,700 €
    EU Contribution: 6,700,020 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Confederacin Hidrogrfica del Duero
    Legal Status: PUBLIC
    Address: Street Muro 5, 47071, Valladolid, España
    Contact Person: Carlos Marcos Primo
    Tel: +34 983215462

    LIFE Project Map



    • River basin management


    • flood
    • environmental management
    • wetland
    • groundwater
    • management plan
    • river management
    • drought


    • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
    • COM(2012)673 -"A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources"


    Name Type
    Confederacin Hidrogrfica del Duero Coordinator
    Junta de Castilla y León, Spain Participant
    Diputación Provincial de Ávila, Spain Participant
    Sociedad Pública de Infraestructuras y Medio Ambiente de Castilla y León, Spain Participant
    Fundación Patrimonio Natural de Castilla León, Spain Participant
    Tecnologías y Servicios Agrarios, S.A.,S.M.E., M.P. Participant
    Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, M.P. Participant