Sea offers solution to water scarcity in Spain

New desalination plant will ensure secure water supply for over 30 000 people.

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Spanish water authorities are improving the desalination infrastructure in an effort to ensure a sustainable water supply in a region of water scarcity.

Replacing transfer of water from other river basins

This project provides for the construction of a new desalination plant and the associated infrastructure in three municipalities to the north of the city of Castellón de la Plana in the autonomous Valencian Community.

Water purified by the plant will partially replace both the transfer of water from other river basins, and extraction from scarce underground water sources. The 31 600 residents of the towns concerned - Cabanes, Oropesa and Benicassim - will be the principal beneficiaries of the project, as it will ensure them a sustainable and purified water supply. Some 70 jobs will be created during the plant’s construction phase, while 13 new jobs will be created for the long term as a result of the project.

Potential to produce 43 million cubic metres of water

The desalination plant itself will be situated in the municipality of Cabanes. It will have a production capacity of some 21 cubic hectometres (21 million cubic metres), progressing to 43 cubic hectometres at a later phase. For the desalination process, it will employ the technique of reverse osmosis, which uses membranes and pressure to separate salt from the water. The plant will deliver an average return of 45 % (treated water compared to the volume of water collected).

Before it reaches the desalination plant, however, raw seawater has to be piped to land in subsea pipelines. Once ashore, it will be pre-treated - filtered and disinfected - before proceeding in pipelines to the desalination plant. This pre-treatment will be conducted in a new building of around 500 m2 in size.

The desalination plant will comprise reverse osmosis racks, a system to treat the desalinated water, a 5000 m3 product water tank, a control building and a process building.

Two pipelines will be built to transport the product water (safe for consumption) from the plant to the municipalities concerned. Meanwhile, to dispose of the brine generated during the purification process, land and subsea pipelines will be built to convey this waste product for safe discharge in the sea.

Total and EU funding

The project “Oropesa del Mar Desalination Plant and complementary works in Valencia” has eligible costs for funding of EUR 30 817 931, to which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 15 090 000.


Draft date

11/07/2012