Abundant fresh water sourced from seawater

A town in the Valencia region close to the coast is building a much-needed desalination plant.

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The new plant and associated facilities in Moncófar will initially produce up to 32 000 cubic metres of fresh water daily from Mediterranean seawater. This will ensure a regular supply of water to La Plana district, which traditionally struggles to meet local water demands.

Drought-prone area

Moncófar has a population of around 12 000. It is situated around 40 km north of Valencia and several kilometres from the sea to the east. Irregular rainfall has long blighted the town and surrounding area, making local water resources unpredictable. The current solution is to draw water from underground aquifers, although this has an adverse impact on groundwater levels.

Under this project, the goal is to build a large desalination plant on the nearby coast. Engineers have designed the plant with a daily production capacity of 32 million litres of fresh water; this capacity can be almost doubled if necessary. The plant will serve the municipalities of Chilches, Moncófar, Vall d'Uixó, and Nules in Castellón province.

The project matches five key socio-economic objectives in Spain’s AGUA (Water Management and Use) Programme and the regional priorities for improving development. These objectives include everything from meeting regional water demand sustainably, and guaranteeing that good-quality water is always available in sufficient quantities, to ensuring that Spanish water projects meet European standards on sustainability and economic viability, as laid down mainly in the EU Water Framework Directive.

Coastal desalination

The desalination plant will have a potential maximum daily capacity of 60 million litres of fresh water. Additional funds in this project will pay for equipment to abstract, pump, and transport seawater – so as to meet La Plana district’s current and future demand for water resources.

Seawater will be abstracted through an open plug, consisting of a cylindrical tower that is 9.6 m high and has an internal diameter of 4.35 m. In the tower’s bottom part, two wide feeder pipelines (3.2 km long) will be connected to the desalination plant. This section ends in a tank with a capacity of 800 m3.

The desalination plant will include six separate treatments, ranging from chemical pre-treatment to sand filtration and reverse osmosis. Water will finally be disinfected with sodium hypochlorite and pH corrected using calcium. Four tanks, each with a capacity of 10 000 m3, will store the treated water. Any wastewater will be disposed of via a wide pipeline almost four kilometres in length.

During the implementation phase, some 50 jobs will be directly created by this project.

Total and EU funding

The project “Desalinating plant in Moncofar” has a total eligible budget of EUR 32 292 600, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 15 690 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date