Known to date as the Rambla Morales desalination plant, and abandoned in 2011, the facility will begin to provide services at the beginning of 2022, according to Servicios Hídricos Agricultura y Ciudad SL, the Aqualia subsidiary responsible for the management of municipal services in the city of Almería and Níjar, amongst other municipalities in the province of Almería. 

The company presented its new project, which it has called “Mar de Alborán”, to put the infrastructure back into operation to enable the production and distribution of 20 cubic hectometres per annum in the area it will supply, which includes the crop farming areas of the municipalities of Almería and Níjar. This water will enable the irrigation of 3,000 hectares of land, the equivalent of 10% of the irrigable surface area of the entire province of Almería or 60% of the irrigable surface area of Níjar. 

The aim is to be in a position to produce and supply desalinated water by the beginning of 2022. In this way, the Mar de Alborán desalination plant is envisaged as a solution to the water deficit in the area, where aquifers are overexploited and at low levels, resulting in an inability to meet irrigation water demand with existing natural water sources. 

The project includes the construction of a renewable energy plant to power the facility, thereby making it more sustainable and helping to preserve the surrounding area of the plant, the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park. The renewable energy plant is expected to be up and running by summer 2022.

The company estimates total investment in the project at 99.2 million euro, which includes assets already acquired worth 56.2 million euro. The remaining amount corresponds to the upgrading and construction work already underway.