Mobile desalination plants for the port of Barcelona

Idea for mobile desalination plants originates from the tourism sector

by Lorraine Williamson
mobile desalination plants

The Climate Minister of the Catalan government has announced that a floating desalination plant will be installed in the port of Barcelona. Catalonia opts for this to be able to supply water to the population during severe drought periods.

Desalinating water in its own port is Barcelona´s choice in view of the expected drought in the near future. By opting for a mobile desalination plant, the autonomous region is abandoning the previous idea of having water transported by boat. The initiative is intended to ensure that the metropolitan area of Barcelona is provided with water in the coming months and does not have to impose new restrictions on its residents.

Second-highest drought level expected for next autumn

During a press conference, the Catalan Climate Minister stated that the floating desalination plant will be operational in October. The expectation is that drought level 2 will be reached in that month if no rain falls before then. At this stage, severe drought is being discussed. It is the last level before level 3, which is equivalent to ‘code red’. The desalination plant will produce approximately 14 cubic hectometres of water per year. This corresponds to 6% of the water consumption of the metropolitan area of Barcelona.

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Other regions also opt for mobile desalination plants

The Costa Brava Girona region and the Girona Water Consortium (CACBG) will purchase 12 mobile desalination plants. The intention is for these to become operational in June to supply water to a dozen municipalities. According to the government, four desalination plants will be installed in Roses, four at the drinking water treatment plant of ETAP Empuriabrava, and another four on Empuriabrava beach.

The water from the desalination plants in Roses is intended for the municipality itself. The remaining mobile desalination units produce water for the municipalities supplied by ETAP Empuriabrava: Cadaqués, Llançà, Roses, Castelló d’Empúries – including Empuriabrava -, the Mancomunidad de Pau, Palau Saverdera, Vilajuïga, Garriguella, Pedret y Marzà, El Port de la Selva, and Selva de Mar.

Idea for water guarantee originates from tourism

The idea for the mobile desalination plants stems from the private sector, specifically from the tourism sector. During previous water restrictions due to drought in Catalonia, this sector opted for the mobile solution. The door to this option opened after this industry in Lloret purchased a desalination plant. The solution would benefit the public sector because it could guarantee drinking water to the population.

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