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Virtual image of how the Mediterráneo Desalación S.L. project would look SUR
Axarquía desalination project bids down to two frontrunners

Axarquía desalination project bids down to two frontrunners

The Trops, Grupo Cobra and University of Malaga group proposal has been dropped from the process, which is being led by the Andalusian regional government

Eugenio Cabezas

Friday, 1 December 2023, 17:11

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As the extreme drought crisis tightens its grip across Malaga province and with its reservoirs at historic lows for this time of year, at just 18 per cent of their capacity, the Andalusian regional government continues to take steps to get the long-awaited Axarquía desalination plant up and running.

Once built it is hoped that the plant will be the answer to the area’s water supply problems, which include restrictions in a number of towns and villages as well as the hitherto flourishing subtropical fruit sector.

The Andalusian regional government’s official bulletin (BOJA) published on Tuesday 28 November the two projects that have been selected to go through to the final stage of the bidding process for the contract: Acciona Agua S.A. and Mediterráneo Desalación S.L.

Appeal

The project presented by Acciona Agua S.A. creates desalinated water for irrigation and domestic supply using a reverse osmosis filtration process, with a maximum annual volume of 25 cubic hectometres. according to the announcement published on Tuesday in the BOJA.

The proposal presented by Mediterráneo Desalación S.L., also uses reverse osmosis for irrigation and supply, but with a planned maximum annual volume of 40 cubic hectometres.

The water abstraction and saline disposal points differ slightly in the two projects, but in both cases they would be located in the vicinity of the mouth of the river Vélez, to the west of Torre del Mar. As for the location of the site, there are also different proposals in each case. As such the Junta de Andalucía is yet to agree on the specific site for the plant with Vélez-Málaga town hall.

The third project, a collaboration between Vélez-Málaga based subtropical fruit giant Trops, Grupo Cobra and the University of Malaga, has been dropped, although the group has one month to appeal the decision, should they choose to do so.

However, Trops manager Enrique Colilles said on Wednesday 29 November that the team is not planning to appeal the decision. Speaking to Cadena Ser radio in the Axarquía, the head of the Vélez-Málaga-based company blamed the authorities for withdrawing support for their project, especially the Axarquía Mancomunidad de Municipios, which brings together the town halls in the Axarquía. "We are not here to waste time and money, we are already suffering a lot with the drop in prices and the profitability of farms due to the drought," said Colilles.

Spain’s central government has designated 100 million euros for the project and it is estimated that once the contract is awarded and work begins, it will take two and a half years to complete.

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