Coastal management

Who is in charge of beaches?

Management and coordination is carried out through the Integrated Coastal Management Programme, which is headed by the Service Office for of Water Cycle - Department of Environment and Local Urban Services from Urban Habitat.

The Integrated Coastal Management Programme of Barcelona, developed by the Department of Parks and Gardens in 2004, pays special attention to environmental issues. Monitoring the quality of the beaches is carried out through the implementation of certified management systems for analyzing seawater and sand, controlling noise pollution and Blue Flag, among other criteria which  guarantee optimum levels of quality.

Certification ISO 14.001:2004

The environmental management system of Barcelona beaches follows ISO 14.001: 2004. This certification involves planning and implementing an environmental policy that includes a commitment to improve continuously and prevent pollution, as well as to follow applicable environmental laws and regulations. ISO 14.001: 2004 is awarded by a certifying entity and is accompanied by periodic audits.

Quality of water and sand

The Water Agency from the Government of Catalonia analises water regularly and the Public Health Agency analitza beaches sand weekly. Since 2008, Nova Icaria beach has a buoy with a sensor that measures the concentration of bacteria in the bathing water. The data is received and analysed in real time.

Online monitoring of water state

Barnamar service enables to track online —on the beaches website— water state from parameters via satellite images which are daily updated daily and show water state, such as suspended particles and transparency:

  • Quality of water: chlorophyll concentration is a key rate to determine the water quality on the coast according to the water framework directive, as implemented by the Water Agency (Agència Catalana de l’Aigua or ACA) in Catalan beaches. Values regarding quality of water are allocated according to the chlorophyll concentration.

  • Maps on water temperature: they are obtained from satellite measurements and interpolation models.

  • Transparency: this parameter is represented by Secchi depth (satellite measurement is similar by the one obtained in-situ using a Secchi disk). High values regarding Secchi depth ​​mean clear water where sunlight can penetrate. Lowest Secchi depth values ​​mean turbid waters and a difficult biological regeneration in shallow water.

For further information, please clich here

Organisations that provide servicis under the Integrated Coastal Management Programme:

Beaches Stabilization Plan

was created to protect the city coastline and avoid sand loss due to sea storms. This project involves strengthening the coastline to ensure the conservation of sandy beaches, as well as the environmental quality of water.

This project was funded by the Ministry of Environment and spanned almost 5,000 meters of the Barcelona coastlime. It was aimed at carrying out the necessary measures that would lead to an effective stabilization of all the beaches of Barcelona. The project was developed in several phases: from the fall-winter of 2006-2007 to late 2011. Stabilization works were also expected more than 700,000 cubic meters of sand.