The desalination plant in Marbella. SUR
Green light to turn more seawater into freshwater so La Concepción reservoir does not run dry

Green light to turn more seawater into freshwater so La Concepción reservoir does not run dry

The Marbella desalination plant is to be expanded over the next nine months so it can produce 20 cubic hectometres a year

Chus Heredia


Friday, 23 February 2024, 12:51


It was built in 1997 and is in urgent need of an upgrade. At the moment the Marbella desalination plant, which turns seawater into freshwater by filtering out the salt, has been pushed to its limit and at times can produce half the freshwater consumed on the western Costa del Sol.

But it needs to provide much more than it has been doing, especially in the upcoming peak summer months. Keeping a flow of water is becoming a real juggling act for local water supplier Acosol as each rainfree day passes.

The other main source of water for the municipalities stretching from Manilva to Torremolinos along the Costa is La Concepción reservoir, between Marbella and Istán. This is now getting dangerously low and water company bosses need to keep a minimum amount of water in there by the time the summer has passed and the autumn months arrive.

It is good news then that the go ahead has just been given for a nine month project to almost double the capacity of the desalination plant in Marbella. Instead of 12 cubic hectometres a year, the plant will be able to produce 20. This will be topped up with water from wells in the Guadalmansa area of Estepona and in Fuengirola to get the western Costa del Sol through the crucial summer months and ready for the autumn.

The work to upgrade the desalination plant is complex, however, as it cannot be totally stopped while work is being carried out. The plan for a portable plant next to it instead was abandoned. So, in the coming months, ahead of the summer, some of the capacity also needs to be turned off while improvements are ongoing.

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