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Tackleing water shortages, Chile announces tender for desalination plant

Government authorities in Chile announced at the beginning of the year the tender for a multi-purpose desalination plant in the Coquimbo region, a process that will begin during the second half of 2024, according to a press release by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas (The Ministry of Public Works).

It is estimated that the plant will have a capacity of 1,200 litres/second and will benefit 540,000 people, guaranteeing a stable supply of drinking water for the Coquimbo-La Serena conurbation, also making it possible to send desalinated water to Ovalle.

President Boric said: “In the Panul sector, in the commune of Coquimbo, we are going to install the long-awaited multi-purpose desalination plant for the region. This will guarantee in the medium term the supply and quality of drinking water for the La Serena – Coquimbo conurbation, as well as water for irrigation. In addition, this plant will send water to Ovalle.”

The President added: “It is my concern that this work should continue within the announced timeframe and, hopefully, in a shorter one, which requires a State commitment that goes beyond a Government”.

The Mayor of Coquimbo highlighted that the project counts with more than US$300 million to combat the drought at regional level.

Desalination system in the Coquimbo region

The ministry plans to implement, starting in 2024, the first stage of a desalination system, which includes the construction of four plants to help address the growing water scarcity. This stage has a first focus on guaranteeing the supply of drinking water for human consumption and, in addition, meeting the demands of other sectors affected by the water crisis.

Thus, with the aim of mitigating the water deficit afflicting the region’s Rural Sanitation Services (RAS), the Ministry of Public Works is planning the installation of three desalination plants to provide a safe source of water for human consumption to the Rural Sanitation Services of the provinces of Limarí, Choapa and Quilimarí for an investment of close to 209 million dollars.

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