Barcelona to install a floating desalination plant off its port to help fight drought

THE Generalitat de Catalunya will install a floating desalination plant in the port of Barcelona to help the fight against the region’s drought, it has been announced.

David Mascort, the regional government’s climate action minister, revealed on Wednesday morning that the plan would come into action if a Level 2 drought emergency is announced – Catalunya is currently under a Level 1 drought emergency, which limits water use by prohibiting the filling of swimming pools and car washing, with a progression to Level 2 expected in October if there is no significant increase to reservoir levels. 

The floating desalination plant, which will be located on the shore of the port of Barcelona, will provide 14hm3 of water per year, equivalent to 6% of the consumption of the Barcelona metropolitan area.

Mascort, who is a member of the left-wing Republican Left of Catalunya (ERC) party, said that using a floating desalination facility would be a ‘more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable’ method of supplying water than using ships to import water, an idea previously considered by local authorities. 

READ MORE: Tourists will face new water restrictions in this region of Spain due to ongoing drought

Catalunya is currently in the midst of its worst drought since records began. Credit: Cordon Press

“The amount of water we will obtain is much higher, we could say more than double, compared to what we would get by bringing in water tanker ships, and it is also much cheaper”, he said.

Patricia Plaja, spokesperson for the Catalan government, added: “Transporting water by ship from outside Catalunya is no longer an option as we now have more practical, efficient and better alternatives”. 

The plant will desalinate around 40,000m3 of water per day, more than the 25,000m3 that can be brought in on water tanker ships daily.

In addition, the government will install 12 small mobile desalination plants on the northern Costa Brava.

These facilities, which will cost €10million, will provide 35% of the water needed for over a dozen municipalities, including tourist towns such as Roses, Cadaques and Llanca. 

Catalunya is currently suffering its worst drought since records began, with local authorities confirming that water restrictions will remain in place over the summer despite recent rainfall.

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