Eco-innovation consultancy for the implementation of efficient systems for the control of invasive species in a irrigation community

Mequinenza Reservoir pumping


Eco-innovation consultancy for the implementation of efficient systems for the control of invasive species in a irrigation community


16 October 2019 / 16 April 2020

VIDA Challenges

Sustainable agriculture and efficient greenhouse management


Zebra mussel larva, in phase Veliger, seen with polarized light

Invasive alien species (IAS) are non-native species that are introduced deliberately or unintentionally by human action outside their natural habitats where they establish, proliferate and spread in ways that cause damage to biological diversity.

IAS, like the zebra mussel (ZM) represent a serious threat to biodiversity, which constitutes one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss (EEA Technical Report 16/2012). Combating the IAS is one of the six targets covered by the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

The combination of chemical biocides and physical methods, implemented in an efficient way, proves to be the most efficient way to control IAS colonization of hydraulic systems such as an irrigation community.

Chemical products, such as hydrogen peroxide in the combination with peracetic acid (peracetic mix), are often used to control or eradicate the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, in pressurised irrigation pipes. The optimal application of these substances is essential to achieve maximum effectiveness at minimum cost, without harmful effects on crops or environment.

Software tools, such as EPANET, are useful to predict the hydraulic behavior of water distribution systems, to monitor water quality. Moreover, these software tools enable the simulation of additive application effect, by modeling its corresponding chemical reaction, leading to the prediction of time evolution of additive concentration along the irrigation network. This prediction will consider the additive reaction in raw water and also its reaction with the wall, covered by zebra mussel, due to interaction between additive and IAS.

The system has important contributions to the proper functioning of the food value chain, particularly with regards to traceability and food safety.

Results achieved

The essential parameters for the development of the hydraulic model, physicochemical parameters and larval analysis have been analyzed at key points in the irrigation network.

The larval concentrations, despite the time of year, when they have been taken the samples have been always high.

It is concluded that the contribution of zebra mussel by the Mequinenza Reservoir is large, but there seems to be no added reproduction in the irrigation pool and the concentration decreases along the distribution network.

The physicochemical quality of water is conducive to larval viability, so that, even if larvae die from network pressure, high speed, or by Anoxia, they are able to reach the endpoints of the distribution network thanks to the supply of nutrients and the correct oxygenation of the water.

Disinfectant application simulations were run considering various hypothetical cases, obtaining results for variations in the concentration of residual biocide due to the transportation and decay processes at any point of the network over time.

An intermittent point-type preventive treatment is selected because the pumping of water to the network is not continuous, therefore, the continuous treatments would not be effective..


Comunidad de Regantes margen derecho Río Guadalope

Diama S.C.


Social Media/Hashtags

#IAS, #ZebraMussel, #Biodiversity, #Biocide, #IrrigationCommunity