International Annual UN-Water Zaragoza Conference 2012/2013
Preparing for the 2013 International Year. Water Cooperation: Making it Happen! 8-10 January 2013

Field visits: specific examples of water cooperation in Zaragoza and Aragon


“The city of Zaragoza takes great pride in the way it has managed its water. It has achieved impressive results in reducing water losses, increased investments in wastewater treatment, and above all, obtained high degrees of participation in aspects of water management from citizens, organized civil society and local government departments. All of this culminated in the 2008 Expo held in Zaragoza with the theme ‘water and sustainable development’ ”. (SWITCH project)

ZINNAE, Urban Cluster

One of the examples is the ZINNAE Urban Cluster for the efficient use of water. It integrates the main economic agents that are linked with an efficient use of water in the city of Zaragoza: companies of different nature (water saving technology, water measuring and meter reading technology, companies linked with the water supply, sanitation and treatment, water facilities, etc.), the main research and training centers in the region, as well as the local, regional and national water public administrations.

On the one hand, it concentrates a varied critical mass of companies linked to the water integral cycle, covering different activities related to the efficient use of water (supply, treatment, products, green areas, etc.). Zaragoza concentrates also public administrations the an impressive track record to achievements as far as water quality improvement and water demand reduction are concerned. Zaragoza hosts research and training centers linked to water and energy efficiency having an important international tradition. The “Zaragoza, Water Saving City” project has been implemented since 1997, the purpose of which is to save water and to use it efficiently in the city through a change of both habits and technology. Thus, the city becomes a space of permanent demonstration and innovation forum for projects related to the use of urban water.

Riegos del alto Aragon

Since 1898 water users and other public water assets that benefit from the same outlet or concession must be established as user communities. The role of the user communities is the internal management and planning of water rights and other assets under the supervision of the River Basin Authority.

They are corporations of public law and have legal personality of its own. They are governed by its statutes and ordinances drafted and approved by them and then by the River Basin, which can only withhold approval or introduce variations with the approval of the National water Council. .  The WUA act in accordance with the procedures established in the Water Act and the Statutes and Ordinances, in accordance with the provisions of Law 30/1992.

In 1952 it was created the WUA of the “Riegos del Alto Aragón”. The main objective of the WUA is to perform functions of policing, distribution and administration of water and deal with all conflicts that may arise among the users and the different communities in the system. The WUA includes 58 sub communities (WUA) with 125000 hectares of crops and provides drinking water supply to 114 local communities in Huesca and Zaragoza and to ten industrial areas.  Around 25,000 families live from the irrigation crops: rice, maize, fruit, vegetables and other. Water is distributed through 2000 Km of Channels and 3000 KM of return flows channels.

Generally the users associations have the following bodies:

  • Meeting or Assembly

    Formed by all users, is the sovereign body. Their agreements are executed immediately.

  • Governing Board

    Elected by the General Board is responsible for enforcement of ordinances and resolutions adopted by it and by the General Meeting. 

  • Jury

    Deal with factual issues between users and the violations, imposing sanctions, imposing penalties, indemnities and obligations which can be derived from them. Its judgments are executed immediately

Programme for the Field Visits



Zinnae is located at the “Chamber of Commerce” of Zaragoza (Paseo Isabel la Catolica 2). Zinnae representatives will pick up conference participants who have signed in for the event (at 14:30) and will go with them in different cars and (if necessary) in the recently inaugurated Zaragoza Tram to the Side event.

The Field Visit programme will include:

  • Visioning of Video about the Business Water Stakeholder platform of Zaragoza (Zinnae) (Spanish with English subtitles)
  • Insights of Zinnae members (university and companies) on a) the benefits of the Cluster for their respective organizations and b) the aspects that they think need to improve to further water cooperation in the cluster
  • Open debate with participants

Riegos del Alto Aragon

The Headquarters of the WUA is located in the outskirts of Huesca. Registered participants in the side event will be picked up by a bus (courtesy of the irrigation association) outside the venue at 14:30. Please note that the maximum number is 50 so we encourage people to register early. 

The Field Visit programme will include:

  • Visit to the photo exhibit of Riegos del Alto Aragon and welcome by the President of the WUA (Cesar Trillo).
  • Visit to the installations of the WUA and explanation of different functions.
  • Exchange with WUA Commission and/or Water Jury
  • Q&A with participants and informal conversation with irrigators/members of the WUA Board

Transportation to Zaragoza (arriving at approximately 7:30 pm)