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Barcelona to ship in desalinated water from the south

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Offline Clive

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« on: February 08, 2008, 20:43 PM »
At the bottom of this Olive press article....

http://www.theolivepress.es/2008/02/08/government-warns-of-worst-drought-in-more-than-a-decade/

Quote
Meanwhile, the driest region in Europe is set to supply water to drought-stricken Catalunya. Officials in Barcelona plan to ship in water from a desalination plant at Carboneras, Almería, to avert water cuts.

What?

Can Barcelona not afford to build it's own desalination plant?

Anyone got any real news about this stupid plan? Can you imagine the fuel involved in bringing water by tanker?


:(
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Offline lucy

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2008, 23:50 PM »
Hi Clive,

Javier Arenas has been fuming about the affair, but not for ecological reasons: "Ni una gota de agua para los Catalanes!"
A desalination plant is being constructed at the moment:  I've seen them laying pipes through part of the Delta de Llobregat reserve (nothing will be visible once they've finished, apparently.)  Let's hope it rains before water needs to be shipped in.

Offline Sue

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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2008, 08:53 AM »
Hi Lucy,

when do they expect your new desalination plant in Barcelona to be active?
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Offline lucy

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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2008, 09:41 AM »
Hi Sue,

Doesn't look like anytime before May 2009.  Apart from the shipping scheme, 14 wells in the metropolitan area, abandoned because of contaminated aquifers, are going to be brought back into use. 

Offline nick

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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2008, 15:06 PM »
The boat is an emergency measure for an extreme situation given this is the worst drought for 50 years, if it doesn't rain a lot in the coming months. To get around this problem in the long-term they can, in addition to water saving policies (or course!) they can either;

-transfer water (eg Ebro, French rivers)
- build desalination plants.

Thankfully, the option latter has been chosen. The plan is to build and/ or expand four plants over the next five years and for these, once and for all, to solve the periodic problems of drought.
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Offline tonyninfas

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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2008, 18:51 PM »
Am I reading this correct.  Spain is constantly pressing Catalonia to let it have water from the Ebro for the parched south.  Would it not make more sense to let Barcelona have water from the Ebro and let the south keep its desalinated water ?  Or is that too easy an answer ?  Not that I would want to drink water from the Ebro anyway with the nucleur power station at Flix and all the other contamination that it is carrying.

Offline lucy

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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2008, 19:46 PM »
During PP's last government, when Aznar rushed to inaugurate the Ebro Trasvase before the elections, apart from anger that this water was to be used for his cronies' golf course and urbanization plans, another objection was the damage it would wreak on the fragile Delta del Ebro.  So this would seem at least one good reason not to take Ebro water for Barcelona now.

Offline nick

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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2008, 19:52 PM »
Hi Tony,

Barcelona's water doesn't come from the Ebro but from the Ter and Llobregat systems.

The plan to transfer water from the Ebro was shelved when the PSOE won the last election. The Ebro Delta needs the imput of the Ebro to survive. Most studies say anything less than the current imput would spell disaster for the delta.

So it is no longer a case of "Ebro transfer to the south" or "Ebro transfer to the north" but leaving it to drain into the delta.

The Catalan government does not wish to promote any more water transfers. That's why it's decided to build the desalination plants (by the way, three times less energy use, apparently, than the Ebro transfer plan).

Why hasn't it done before?
Politics, funding and lack of planning ...but also it's cheaper now than ever.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2008, 19:53 PM by nick »
Nick
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Offline nick

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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2008, 19:52 PM »
That's right Lucy beat me to it there while I was typing away!
Nick
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2008, 08:19 AM »
How many desalination plants could the Med. take before water levels were low enough to make a crossing from Africa poss?
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Offline tonyninfas

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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2008, 09:32 AM »
Even more interesting as there is some new sculpture ? been sited on the road island on the south side of the Millenium Bridge in Tortosa which consists of the upright pipes used in the 'No Water for the South' knot symbol.  Each pipe is of differing heights and inidates the towns and villages by size in Catalonia along the Ebro which would be affected, the largest signifying Tortosa.  Would this sculpture have been necessary if there are not concerns that it might still go ahead ?  Or perhaps once ordered there was no point in cancelling it, just to press the point home.

Offline nick

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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2008, 11:27 AM »
At a national level the PP are still in favour of the plan...so it could resurface
Nick
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Offline Steve West

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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2008, 16:02 PM »
Both the Ebro Delta transvasament and the Gran Scala are abominations. Out of touch and out of place. Both of these subjects defy intelligent debate.

On a smaller scale there is the Segarra-Garrigues. After god knows how many decades of talking about a new irrigation canal which would just about irrigate everything left unirrigated on the plains of Lleida and in the Garrigues a very low key announcement surfaced somewhere in the press last week that a recent study revealed what some of us had already been saying - there would never be enough water to irrigate the land that was supposed to be irrigated under this scheme. Still, the work continues.

If anyone ever doubted why such schemes went ahead perhaps they should look at the Xerta canal - dry as a bone ever since the day it was born. The contractors were paid for their work, of course, from the public treasury.

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Offline Jill

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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2008, 22:53 PM »
Just picking up on what Lisa said - I have read, somewhere, that desalination plants cause environmental problems. They raise the salinity of the local sea area so that some species are pushed out  - or destroyed, I suppose, if they can't swim. I'm not sure whether the Posidonia (vitally important sea grass) is affected.

In other words, we have a situation similar to the energy problem: Clean, green energy is better than the smokey kind, but still causes problems; Desalinating sea-water is better than robbing the Ebro, but still causes problems.

The very best thing is to find ways to use less energy and less water.

I'm coming to the conclusion that the only way to do this is to have less people on the planet....

Offline Clive

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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2008, 08:54 AM »
It depends on the type of Reverse osmosis system that gets used Jill but 4 desal plants are going to make a lot of concentrated brine and if they use the biochemicals and anti coagulants plus the chlorine then just backwashing the prefilters is going to cause some big problems...

People in general will continue to use use water in excess simply because they have been told by the companies and politicians that they have a desal plant now and the problem is solved once and for all.. After all the Med is full of. water?. A very ignorant attitude of course that is completely unsustainable.

One way to limit the problems of the brine and other residues would be to somehow link the waste water from the city and the desal plants together. Well treated grey water could be mixed with the brine thus diluting both sources before they get pumped out to sea... But the grey water needs to be cleaned properly as well which sounds difficult as Lucy has already mentioned that the ground water around the city is so polluted that 14 wells were closed.

Jill is exactly right in my opinion. Too many people using too many resources with no regard for the future. It is time that people learned to conserve their resources. Too long has "the land of plenty" attitude prevailed

I don't think building the desal plants is the answer to Barcelona's water shortage especially as this is only the start of the drying out years...
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