Spain: Despite drought desalination plants remain closed

Due to high production costs the desalination plant in Moncofa remains closed. Photo: Acuamed

While Spain is suffering from severe drought three of eight desalination plants in the region Valencia remain closed. The rest of the plants is operating on 30 per cent of their capacity. The Spanish news channel La Sexta found out the production of fresh water from sea water is too expensive for small communities.

In Moncofa in Castellon a small town of 6.000 inhabitants, people need to pay more than 1,5 million euros annually for desalination. The water price got too expensive and people stopped buying desalinated water from public water company Acuamed. The installation was built with European funds (FEDER) and costed 55 million euros. The desalination plant is now not used at all, states the Mayor of Moncofa in La Sexta.

Triple production
Fortunately not all desalination plants are destined to be closed. In a bigger city called Xabia 150.000 citizens are using desalinated water as their only fresh water source. The minister of agriculture, environment, fish and food Isabel Garcia Tejerina said at the end of November she wants to triple the production of desalination plant of Torrevieja in Alicante. This is necessary because, due to a lack of rain, Spain’s water supply in the water reservoirs is getting less day by day.

This summer the desalination plant of Aguilas in Murcia produced a record of more than 5 million cubic metres in a month. This water was mainly used for irrigation of citrus trees, but would also be sufficient for a monthly use of about 1.2 million citizens.