OPTINAGUA - Economic and environmental optimization of water use in industrial sectors


Current efficiency analysis based on actual data (economic and environmental) in water use in the industry, is an unfinished task in both the Spanish and European level, in a context of increasing competition for water uses, and therefore more pressure on these scarce resources. A rigorous evaluation of the efficiency of industrial water use, taking into account the degree of resource utilization in the production of goods and services as well as the environmental impact of such industrial activity, and the restoration costs of the resource, it is a necessary work in the environment and the current situation. The adoption and proposed technical solutions to increase that economic and environmental efficiency of water use are alternatives that should be given to the industry after implementation of the corresponding audit. OPTINAGUA intends to provide them.

The OPTINAGUA tool is based on a methodology that combines economic, energy and environmental aspects. Optinagua technological development is based on well-established and extended existing methodologies such as the “water footprint (WF)”, the “life cycle assessment (LCA)”, the “Water pinch (WP)” and “Physical Hidronomics (PH)”. The end result is the construction of an overall indicator to measure numerically the economic and environmental efficiency of water use in agro-industry, to propose measures to improve process efficiency.


The main goal of the project is the creation, implementation and validation of a software tool to perform the analysis of water use and energy efficiency in agro-industry including sustainable development, environment and economics concerns.  Such evaluations are the starting point for improvements in processes to increase efficiency in the use of resources, creating a positive effect for the environment and for the competitiveness of enterprises own such as identifying opportunities for improvement in the production chain and technical solutions to increase the economic and environmental efficiency of water use. These technical solutions are aimed at improving industrial processes that equip companies more competitive in the global market. The aim is the regular analysis of the evolution and verification of the efficiency and the effectiveness of the proposed measures, once they are implemented. The tool covers sectors which constitute around 90% of GDP in Spain

  • Vegetables (preserves, jams and sauces, frozen)
  • Meat, dairy, beer
  • Canned fish and seafood, frozen ready meals, and sugar sector

It also represent a seal of quality differentiating the company from the competitors, incorporating elements of measurement and reference values to compare the production process with the rest of the sector. It also involves a demanding advance for national policy trends.


CIRCE´s main role in the project is the development of the methodology for assessing the efficiency of the use of water in industry, and implementation of the methodology in real case studies, prior definition of measurement and testing plan. A set of improvements to increase efficiency will be proposed to the case studies. The effect of the proposed improvements in selected case studies will be checked. CIRCE further participates in the development of the informatic tool through integration of the data with the software tool, as well as in the testing phase of the tool.