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“Exciting Sneak Peek into the Accelerated Completion Schedule for Costa del Sol’s Major Desalination Plant Upgrade!”

May 7, 2024
"Exciting Sneak Peek into the Accelerated Completion Schedule for Costa del Sol's Major Desalination Plant Upgrade!" - WhatsApp20Image202024 04 3020at2012.35.13 U210872067023U1F - Drought crisis -

Marbella Desalination Plant Upgrade Nears Completion

The Marbella desalination plant is on the verge of a significant upgrade, which will allow it to provide a substantially larger amount of water to the western strip of the Costa del Sol. The regional ministry of agriculture of the Junta de Andaluocía and water supply company Acosol are aiming to start the autumn at maximum capacity, potentially reducing the construction period by two to three months.

Contractor Continuity Ensures Smooth Progress

The smooth progress of the project is largely due to the fact that the contractor for both the first and second phases of the project is the same – Medio Ambiente, Residuos y Agua Marea. The second phase, which was formalised in March, has a budget of 3.42 million euros, while the first phase has a budget of 3.35 million euros.

Increased Capacity to Combat Drought

If the project stays on schedule, the Costa del Sol will be in a strong position to tackle drought conditions in the next hydrological year. Projections suggest that, if the limit of 200 litres per inhabitant per day is maintained, the region could face October with around 30 cubic hectometres in the La Concepción reservoir.

Desalination Plant’s History and Potential

The desalination plant, which was built in 1997 and has been operational since 2005, could provide more than 20% of the coast’s annual water needs, estimated at over 90 hm³. The plant was originally designed for a capacity of 20 hm³ per year, but its potential is closer to 15 hm³ per year. After the upgrade, the plant’s capacity will increase to 12 hm³ per year.

Addressing the Trihalomethanes Issue

The upgrade will not only increase the plant’s capacity but also address a recurring issue of trihalomethanes, volatile substances that can be potentially carcinogenic if they exceed certain quantities. This issue arises when the desalinated water mixes with raw water from the reservoir, which often contains high concentrations of organic matter.

Cost of Desalination and Seawater Collection

The cost of desalination is approximately 1.50 euros per cubic metre, significantly higher than the cost of reservoir reserves. The plant’s seawater intake is located at the mouth of the Verde river, 2.5 kilometres from the desalination plant and next to the western beach of Puerto Banús.

Future Plans for Desalination on the Coast

Once the current upgrade is completed, there will be no room for further extensions. Therefore, Acosol and the Junta are already planning a second desalination plant for the coast. This new plant, which will be located between Mijas and Fuengirola, will have a capacity of around 25 hm³ per year.

Estepona to Start Producing Desalinated Water

This summer, Estepona will also start producing desalinated water, initially from brackish wells and later from seawater. The downstream water concessionaire, Hidralia, has already ordered both portable and containerised plants, which are currently being manufactured.

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