Tuesday, April 30, 2013

38th Parallel Desal Plant in Spain, Europe's Largest, Nears Completion

The desalinization plant in Torrevieja, Spain where construction was stalled when we visited that 38th Parallel site (see "Saline lagoons of Spain's Costa Blanca",  posted on April 30, 2010) is finally close to completion.  In a news story in The Leader on March 3, 2013, we read that "it’s been over ten years since Zapatero’s government first heralded the new Torrevieja plant as an alternative to the Ebro water transfer into Murcia and Alicante, and over two years since the main structure was completed."
At last, the plant, the largest in Europe and second biggest in the world, is within weeks of beginning operation, though "the product may be so expensive that nobody will be prepared to buy it." 
As we learned during our travels, Spain decided to invest in desal as an alternative to damming northern rivers and sending more water south via aqueducts, the model they had been following that is so similar to California's history.  But the energy and environmental costs of desalinization continue to be major hurdles, particularly when compared to less expensive water conservation and recycling options.