La Spezia

La Spezia Pilot represents a very peculiar pilot due to the specific needs linked to a particular location that includes the Cinque Terre National Park UNESCO patrimony (where the pilot will be implanted). The latter is often subject to flooding events. The involvement as WISDOM pilot is fully integrated with La Spezia Province sustainability actions, in fact the La Spezia Province has not only developed a European-reference Sustainable Energy Action Plan, but is between a leading partner of Arco Latino Association that is defined as an area including provinces and second-level local administrations from four member states of the European Union: Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. It is a vast geographic area with more than 70 million inhabitants spread over a varying territory: coastal regions, islands and inland and border regions and that aims at leverage leading Innovative Sustainable Projects including the extension of the Covenant of Majors to the water issues.

The involvement of SAT (the water supplier) is fully leveraged by the support of La Spezia Province (the Water Authority). SAT was established in La Spezia in 1912. It operates in projecting, constructing and managing acqueducts. Nowadays SAT manages four well fields and a 23 km pipeline to abstract and distribute potable water to about 50.000 people (1/4 of La Spezia province total population). SAT activity consists in water abstraction, in water purification with chlorine in accordance with the Italian laws,  and in water distribution through the pipeline

The territory in which SAT operates is very rich of water thanks to the Magra river. A greater respect for the environment does not mean, in our area, the use of rainwater or other, but a minor consumption of electric power and materials during the phases of abstraction and distribution of the water. Every leak means water and raw material consumption and production of waste material). Every innovation in electric motors of the pumps and on the distribution means environment respect in energy use.

The purpose of the WISDOM project is to make the activity of SAT more environmentally virtuous, introducing modern technologies to extract and distribute water with the least possible use of electricity and chlorine, with tools to easily identify leaks.

In addition to this, WISDOM will help in the protection of groundwater with continuous monitoring of the state of the groundwater aquifer, with a correlation with the weather situation and the analysis of the exploitation of the wells. It will also offer an analysis of the situation of legal regulations and hazardous activities in the neighborhood of the wells.

The Public Authority and Water Authority, (La Spezia Province - ASP) is also involved in the activities related to the Italian pilot. Particularly ASP in collaboration with ACAM is focus on water quality control system via sensors that can trigger sampling systems or hydraulic control apparatus both in wells and springs.

Water quality control system in wells

Magra river alluvial aquifer feeds the wells that provide drinking water to the vast majority of La Spezia Province population. In particular, Fornola well area is the main water source for La Spezia town and the municipalities of La Spezia Gulf (Lerici and Portovenere). Extensive studies on the aquifer behaviour showed that his geochemical composition is represented by a mixture of superficial waters of Magra and Vara rivers and its possible qualitative changes are to be expected in two hydrological stress conditions of the natural system groundwater/river:
  • flood events;
  • extended periods of drought.

In the first case we observe the highest groundwater levels and the electrical conductivity lowest values while in the second case we note more depressed piezometric levels opposed to higher conductivity values. Based on these observations on the aquifer geochemical and hydrogeological behaviour, we propose a sampling system based on established level/conductivity threshold which triggers an auto-sampler to collect potentially anomalous samples to be subjected to extensive laboratory tests; test aimed at finding possible microbiological changes and determination of the main organic and inorganic trace contaminants

Figure: probe data acquisition

Water quality control system in spring

Vara Valley and "Riviera Spezzina" aqueducts are fed mainly by spring waters. Springs aquifers are characterized by a relatively high vulnerability, vulnerability has increased further as a result of recent critical flood events. The indicator parameter that tracks water quality alteration is turbidity; in fact we observe more and more frequent episodes of high turbidity accompanied by microbiological changes resulting from heavy rainfall. Based on these observations on the aquifer geochemical and hydrogeological behaviour, we propose a control system based on established turbidity thresholds that temporarily exclude potentially contaminated water from aqueduct and restores flow after critical event; these events, related to heavy rainfall concentrated in time and space, usually end up within a few hours.