Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Geographical Issues

The issues, management strategies and proposals listed below are supported by over 500 pages of detailed notes (in English), data charts, explanatory models etc. from Estudi Ramon Folch - Gestiˇ i Comunicaciˇ Ambiental S.L., submitted on 15th June 1997 to Barcelona Regional S.A..

Population Distribution

1.1 High population densities

Urban Sprawl and pressures on the rural-urban fringe

The sustainable city and diffuse city models

Problems associated with high urban densities

1.2 The interaction between transport and location

The currents of movement: Centralisation and commuting

Decentralisation of industry

Growth of second homes

Problems associated with poor accessibility

Issues associated with new transport projects

The atmospheric and climatic framework

2.1 The climate and atmospheric circulation

The role of anticyclones

Factors of the regional climate

2.2 Meteorological risks: cloudbursts and flash flooding

Causes of floods

Floods in the Metropolitan drainage areas

The effects of road works on river courses

The effects of building on flood plains

2.3 Emissions and air quality: dispersion of air pollutants

Pollution sources

The main air pollutants

Air quality

Geology and Soils

3.1 Substrate and relief: geotechnical problems

Relief units

Geotechnical issues

3.2 Major geological risks: earthquakes and landslides

Seismic activity

Landslides and rock falls

3.3 Mining activities: mines and restoration work

Observance of regulations

Environmental impact of quarrying

The restoration of exhausted quarries

3.4 Soils: their use and pollution

Soil types

Soil vulnerability and degradation

Assessment of soil pollution

Surface and ground water

4.1 The water supply network: characteristics and socio-environmental problems

Available resources and their use

Water quality

Flow volumes of surface waters

4.2 Aquifers: use and degradation

Bes˛s and Llobregat aquifers

The Tordera, Maresme & Garraf aquifers

Other aquifers: VallŔs and the Barcelona Plain

4.3 Fresh water catchment and treatment

Potabilising plants

Treatment processes

Present & future water supply

4.4 Sewage: types, treatment, and use  

The Catalan Water and Sewage Treatment Plan

Generation and types of wastewater

Wastewater treatment

Use of treated waters

Discharge of treated waters

The sewer network

4.5 The water budget

Water consumption and needs

Increasing efficiency: Is it really necessary to pipe water from more rivers?

The coastal interface

5.1 The coastal strip

Land use in the coastal strip

Beaches: social and recreational use

Changes in coastal dynamics: ports, and beach regeneration

5.2 Coastal waters: discharges and diffuse pollution

Polluting agents

Sources of pollution

Water quality

5.3 Coastal biology: distribution and problems

Coastal zones

The effects of dumping and sand dredging on fishing

Protection measures

Landscape ecological structures and continental biology

6.1 The environmental landscape

The creation of the landscape

Types of landscape

6.2 The biological heritage: fauna, vegetation and urban green areas



Green areas

6.3 Nature management 

The environmental matrix

Management of open spaces

Forest fires

Hunting and fishing

Environmental impact studies (EIS)

6.4 Environmental parameters

The problems of quantifying environmental phenomena

Eco-landscape fragility index (EFI)


7.1 Energy requirements: strategy and consumption

Energy management

Energy consumption

7.2 Energy infrastructures: generation, transformation, and distribution

Energy generation

Energy transformation

Distribution networks

7.3 The potential for renewable energy

The potential for the use of solid wastes and biomass

Solar energy potential

Wind and geothermal power

7.4 The impact of energy use on the environment

The impact of hydroelectric and thermal power stations The impact of the electricity grid

The misuse and inefficient use of energy

Solid wastes and sewage sludge

8.1 Urban solid wastes (USW), Generation, treatment and recovery

USW generation in the Barcelona Region

Current USW management

The Metropolitan Plan for Municipal Waste Management (MWP)

8.2 Sewage sludge: generation, treatment, and uses

Sludge generation and management Possible uses for sewage sludge

Health and air quality

9.1 The effects of air pollution on health

Epidemiology and health measures

Sources of pollution and other noxious elements

9.2 Health effects of noise

Traffic and street noise

The daily noise pattern and emission sources

Noise inside buildings

Noise regulations

Control and correction measures


Proposals and Recommendations

Regional and environmental measures

10.1 On air pollution

10.2 On river basins and river flow patterns

10.3 On surface water courses, aquifers, and water resources

10.4 On the seaside and coast

10.5 On coastal waters

10.6 On plants, fauna and environmental landscape

10.7 On urban green spaces and roadside verges

10.8 On energy consumption and the potential of local energy sources

10.9 On urban and semi-urban land use

10.10 On geological substrates and soils

Measures to regulate activities which have an environmental element

11.1 On agriculture

11.2 On buildings and infrastructures

11.3 On large public public works and road schemes

11.4 On mobility

11.5 On noise

11.6 On generation and treatment of waste

11.7 On treatment and regeneration of waste water

11.8 On generation and treatment of sewage sludge

11.9 On open air activities