Lloret de Mar hotels will place a private desalination plant on the beach, Source: Depositphotos

Catalonia allows private desalination plants

Catalonia allows private desalination plants

As the drought situation in the region keeps getting worse

The Catalan government has officially permitted the use of private desalination plants, but only on the grounds that it is proven that they can boost and maintain essential economic sectors. The decision was made as the Spanish region is going through an unprecedented drought, which necessitated the declaration of a state of emergency last month, followed by restrictions on water consumption.

The new decision is seen as a way to allow important private sectors, such as tourism, industry and agriculture to maintain their activities while the drought lasts.

Apparently, the measure was motivated by an informal petition from the hotel owners’ association in the popular seaside town of Lloret de Mar. Last month, the hotels pooled resources together and bought a mobile desalination plant worth 1.5 million euros, however, they still needed official permission by the authorities in order to operate it.

The desalination plant would extract water from under the beach rather than from the sea. It has a capacity of 50 cubic metres per hour and could be ready to be operational in May.

The authorities, however, made sure that granting such a permit would be contingent on certain conditions in order to verify that the businesses would still respect and follow the drought emergency rules.

The private desalination plants will have to comply with standards by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA). Its owners must prove that its operation will promote regular economic activity and will save jobs, plus they must show that they have followed the emergency water-saving rules mandated by the drought plan.

Emergency Level 2 in Girona communities

Curiously enough, the new rule actually means that in the case of hotels operating a private desalination plant would lead to permission to fill the hotel pools as this is considered part of the economic activity of the tourism facility. The emergency plan has prohibited the filling of swimming pools in Catalonia.

As for the overall drought situation following more than a month of state of emergency, not only it hasn’t improved but it’s gotten even worse.

Yesterday, and for the first time, 12 municipalities in the region of Girona were placed under emergency level 2, the most severe level. That will require people living in these communities to reduce their daily water consumption even further from 200 to 180 litres.



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