Following an investment of 130 million euro, one of the largest desalination plants in Europe starts operations in Almeria. It produces 97 million liters of water per day, a daily production capacity equivalent to filling an Olympic pool 47 times, and will supply an area with a population of over 300,000 plus 8,000 hectares for irrigation in the coast of Almeria.
The Spanish subsidiary of Veolia Water Technologies, as part of the consortium UTE Campo Dalías, has started the operational phase of the seawater desalination plant by reverse osmosis Campo de Dalías, one of the largest desalination plants in Europe, which represents a total investment of 130 million euro, part of which have been financed by European funds.
The facility, with a production capacity of 97,200 cubic meters a day, will provide drinking water to 300,000 people and irrigation water for 8,000 hectares in the municipalities of Vícar, El Ejido and Roquetas de Mar and the Central Board of Users of Western Almeria.
The project Campo de Dalías, promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment through the State corporation Sociedad Estatal Aguas de las Cuencas Mediterráneas, Acuamed, has been led by the Spanish subsidiary of Veolia Water Technologies, which will also be responsible -along with its consortium partners – for the operation of the plant, assuming its exploitation for 15 years. The entire design of the plant has been accomplished with infrastructures that, if necessary, could be expandable to 129,600 cubic meters per day in the future.
To carry out the construction of this plant, which was completed in November 2014, more 1.2 million hours / man, 12,810 membranes, 41 km of pipelines, 730 control instruments and over 3,000 electromechanical equipment, including static and rotary were used. These figures are some examples of this project´s magnitude, whose daily production capacity is equivalent to filling 47 times an Olympic pool.
With the entry into service of the plant Campo de Dalías the natural regeneration of aquifers will be achieved, among other benefits, avoiding overexploitation for agricultural purposes through the use of existing water resources.
In the words of Jose Angel Legaz CEO of Veolia Water Technologies for Spain and Portugal “The Campo de Dalías desalination plant is a relevant reference for Veolia demonstrating the ability of the Spanish team to design, build and operate major projects. Since last July, the plant is supplying water to irrigators and from next November its capacity will be fully operational to provide drinking water and water for irrigation to western Almeria “
The process begins with the collection of seawater through a 1.6 kilometers long inlet. Then the water is subjected to a pretreatment consisting of several phases, with the main step being double filtration through a battery of 40 bi-layer filters.
After filtration the water flows into the reverse osmosis process, which is performed in two steps. The first step consists of 6 lines equipped with a system that will recover up to 95% energy, greatly minimizing the plant´s energy consumption. The second step, also composed of 6 lines, aims to reduce the boron content to less than 0.5 mg / l, since the desalinated water will also be used for agricultural irrigation.
Post-treatment of the plant involves re-mineralization of treated treated to achieve sufficient degree of alkalinity and hardness, and the final disinfection of the water to ensure that the final product reaches the various points of use in conditions that meet human consumption and agricultural irrigation requirements. Water distribution is achieved through an entirely underground network of 41 kilometers.
The brine discharge at sea is carried out by an emissary of 2 kilometers equipped with diffusers whose discharge points have been carefully studied in order to prevent any condition to the flora and fauna, respecting the environment at all time.