Automated Operation and Energy Optimisation System

Improved operation and annual energy savings.


The Tarragona Water Consortium currently supplies water to 63 municipalities and 25 industries thanks to an authorisation to extract a maximum of 3,8 m3/s from the Ebro River.

All the water must be pumped from a single water source close to the mouth of the Ebro, making energy a critical input cost. Electricity prices have risen significantly in the last few years, forcing cost reductions plans. The change from time-of-use tariffs to real-time-price tariffs at all pumping stations allowed Tarragona Water access to cheaper tariffs but increased operational complexity.

Senior staff needed to be heavily involved in day-to-day operations with consistent plant operation between shifts. Storage available in each zone led decision-making, whereas optimising for upcoming demand might have provided further savings and improved water quality.

ADASA’s Solution

ADASA designed, implemented, and commissioned an automated water distribution network and operative system for The Tarragona Water Consortium. It optimises energy costs and efficiency, and its simulations allow for continuous improvements while assuring high-quality water delivery.

The system can automatically control pumps, flow set points and production rates through an interface to its existing SCADA, respecting all physical and operational constraints while minimising operating costs.

Network operation is now fully automated, adapting to varying water demands, electric tariffs, and maintenance activities.

The project also birthed two simulators. The Strategic Operations Simulator allows engineers and planners to simulate the effect of changes to conditions or facilities such as new pump curves, storage capacity or demand patterns. This way, staff can continuously improve the system configuration.

The Real-time Operations Simulator permits operators to evaluate different operational strategies on the fly without affecting the live system. Staff can then decide if they would like to override the automatic system.

The project included operator and engineer training so that Tarragona Water has complete ownership of the system and can carry out supervision and configuration tasks.



  • Shifting pumping load to lower-cost tariff times and running pumps close to best efficiency brought €1.5m annual energy savings three years after implementation.
  • Improve uniformity of operation by minimising operational inconsistencies in pump scheduling practices between shifts.
  • The system automates cycling of tank levels over several days, ensuring water quality improvement through sufficient water turnover. The reduced retention time of treated water in tanks maintains the system’s residual chlorine levels, ensuring effective disinfection.
  • Coordinate operations planning and pumps working hours for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance.
  • Bidirectional integration through standard interfaces means minimal impact on SCADA with automation already in place.


The Tarragona Water Consortium (Consorci d’Aigües de Tarragona, CAT, in Catalan) is a not-for-profit entity formed in 1985 by municipalities and industries in the province of Tarragona (Spain). Tarragona Water supplies high-quality water and services to urban and industry at prices close to production costs. The operation consists of:

  • The abstraction of up to 326 ML/day (3,8 m3/s) from the Ebro River's irrigation channels.
  • Treating and purifying water.
  • Water distribution through a network of 405 Km of pipes and 23 pumping stations with an overall storage capacity of 580 ML.

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