150,000 people will start to receive desalinated water from the Carboneras plant, after the Minister for the Environment opened the taps to allow water to flow from Carboneras to the Levante water network.
The desalination plant was built several years ago in Carboneras, because that’s where the power plant is. But it was never connected to the Levante, because the water pipe that existed was designed to take water from Mojacar to Carboneras – and pumping the water in the opposite direction caused the water pipe to burst. It was built with overlapping sections, you see, so if you send the water the right way the overlapping sections tighten, but run it the other way and the section open up. This pipe example has been used in environmental study classes in Granada and Almeria universities as an example of how not to plan for the future when designing water networks.
So they’ve spent the last five years planning and building a new water pipe from Mojacar to Carboneras. Meanwhile, the water from Carboneras was being used to irrigate crops in Nijar, while we continued with non-potable water. It’s this pipeline that was opened yesterday, at a stunning cost of 70 million euros. You may have seen it being built where it ran alongside the road behind Garrucha.
Bedar, Carboneras, Los Gallardos, Garrucha, Mojacar, Turre, Vera, Pulpi, Tabernas, Albox, Antas, Arboleas, Cuevas, Huercal and Zurgena will all receive this new water. Well, Turre and Vera won’t, because they have their own supplies, but you can’t expect politicians to be honest with the truth before a big election, can you?
The Carboneras – Mojacar pipeline is 47km long (ok, it goes past Mojacar up to Cuevas) and can carry 15hm2 of water a year. A 35,000m2 water deposit was built in Sopalmo as part of the works. A further 18km of pipeline will be built carrying the water up into the valley and substituting an older Galasa pipeline.
Carboneras can produce 43ha3 of water a year, making it one of the largest in Spain. Another Cuevas plant, still under construction and scheduled for completion by the end of the year, should provide a further 20hm3 of water. However, the Cuevas plant (just behind Palomares) has already had 15ha3 of water earmarked for local farmers, with the remaining 5ha3 of water for local human use.
Back of an envelope sums here:
Carboneras produces 42 ha3, but can only bring 15hm3 a year to the Levante,
Add 5 hm3 from Cuevas
A total of 20hm3 of water for human use. But 42h3 for the local farmers from Huercal to Nijar? What are they producing, rice?
Aaaaaand, since I bet the water is still be mixed in with the current water source, it still won’t be potable. Several hundred million euros spent to keep the farmers happy, at the end of the day.
Let’s assume every person uses around 150l of water a day. That’s 54,750 liters a year, or 54,75 cubic meters(m3). So…. 20hm3 is enough water for 365,296 people.
OK, so we should be fine with 20hm3.
Wonder how much electricity these plants are using? The smog out at sea has been worse since they switched the desalination plant on.