The 2018 edition of the Latin American Association of Desalination and Water Reuse (ALADYR) International Congress took place in Santiago (Chile) from October 9 to 11. At the event, the project entitled “Seawater Desalination Plant for the Region of Atacama”, developed by the GS INIMA – Claro Vicuña Valenzuela consortium for ECONSSA Chile, won the ALADYR award for “Best Latin American Desalination, Reuse and/or Water and Effluent Treatment Project 2018”. This award seeks to acknowledge companies responsible for the best integrated management of desalination, reuse and/or water and effluent treatment projects in Latin America.
Following a tender process, the contract for the project, coordinated by Econssa Chile S.A., was awarded to the GS INIMA-CVV consortium in September 2017. Construction work began in January 2018 and, in accordance with the conditions of contract, the consortium will have a period of 27 months in which to complete the work. Commissioning of the plant is scheduled for 2020.
For years, the region of Atacama in northern Chile has suffered a severe water crisis characterised by overexploitation of aquifers and a period of drought lasting over five years. Therefore, the availability of water is a key factor in terms of guaranteeing social and economic development in the region. The project will benefit over 210,000 people in the communes of Chañaral, Caldera, Copiapó and Tierra Amarilla by providing a solution to the aforementioned water crisis. The facility will be the largest seawater desalination plant for the production of drinking water in Chile.
The plant will be built in three stages and, on completion, will have a maximum capacity of 1,200 litres per second of treated water.