Campo de Dalías, one of Europe’s largest desalination plants, goes into operation

The Spanish subsidiary of Veolia Water Technologies, as part of the Campo Dalías consortium, has commenced the operational stage of the Campo de Dalías seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant. FuturENVIRO will publish a detailed bilingual report on this plant, one of Europe’s largest desalination facilities, in our special edition on desalination in November.

Following a total investment of 130 million Euros, the Campo Dalías plant will produce more than 97 million liters of desalinated water per day to supply a population of 300,000 people and allow the irrigation of 8,000 hectares in the western part of the Andalusian province of Almeria, in the South of Spain.

Designed and built by Veolia Water Technologies’ Spanish office as part of a joint venture, the Campo Dalías desalination facility has been promoted by the Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Environment through Water Spanish Society ACUAMED. With a current capacity of 97,200 m3/d, the plant’s infrastructures were designed for an expansion to 129,600 m3/d should extra capacity be needed in the future. Veolia Water Technologies Spain will also take on the operation of the plant for 15 years, starting in November 2015, together with its joint venture partners.

Construction of the plant was completed in November 2014 and required more than 1,200,000 manpower hours, a total of 12,810 membranes were fitted and 41 km of distribution pipelines were constructed. The plant includes 730 control instruments and more than 3,000 pieces of electromechanical equipment have been installed, both static and rotating. These figures give an idea of the magnitude of this plant, which has a daily production capacity equivalent to filling 47 Olympic swimming pools.

The start-up of Campo Dalías desalination plant will have a positive environmental impact in the region: the use of available water resources through desalination will allow the natural regeneration of the aquifers and avoid their agricultural overexploitation.
“The Campo Dalías desalination plant represents an important reference for Veolia and proves the capacity of the Spanish team to design, construct and operate big size projects”, said José Ángel Legaz, Managing Director for Veolia Water Technologies in Spain and Portugal. “Since last July, the plant has been providing water for agriculture and it will be operating at full capacity as of November to supply water to this water-scarce region of Spain”

Process description

The process begins with the intake of the raw water via a 1.6 kilometer-long submarine pipe. The water is first pretreated by a battery of 40 double-stage filters before going to the double-pass reverse osmosis. The first pass consists of six reverse osmosis skids which are equipped with an Energy Recovery System (ERS) in the form of isobaric chambers. This allows the recovery of up to 95% of the brine pressure which is then transferred to the feed in order to reduce pumping requirements. A second reverse osmosis pass with six skids is required to reduce boron concentration under 0.5 mg/l to comply with irrigation requirements.

The desalinated water is then post-treated through remineralization and a final disinfection step ensures that the output water reaching the delivery pointsis suitable for both human consumption and irrigation. The water distribution network is also part of the work scope and includes a 41 km gravity distribution network to deliver the produced water to end users.

Brine is discharged backed to the see via a 2 km pipe equipped with diffusors that have been carefully designed to prevent any disturbance to marine fauna and flora.

Developing access to water through desalination

Seawater desalination represents an increasingly important solution to the rising water scarcity afflicting many of the world’s regions.With more than 100 years of experience, numerous patented technologiesand extensive knowledge in desalination, Veolia Water Technologies isthe world leader in assisting municipalities and industries implementdesalination strategies. Veolia has a contracted capacity of 12.9 millionm3/dof in 108 countries,representing 17%of the world’s water desalination capacity.