LANZAROTE: AN ISLAND WITH NO WATER
Lanzarote is a dry island, with hardly any water resources. The island suffers chronic drought. For many years this lack of water obliged the inhabitants to employ large doses of vision and undergo great sacrifices to obtain it. Farming the land constituted a huge battle that Lanzarote’s farmers had to fight with great imagination. Rainfall, never frequent, was a gift from Nature to satisfy the thirst of the land and its inhabitants. Help also came by sea: a tanker brought water in its holds, which was then transported, on the backs of horses, to wherever it was needed. There are still cistern fields, check dams, storage tanks, banked fields, cross-terraced fields, etc., to be seen, which bear testimony to the difficult days gone by. THE WATER CULTURE Lanzarote has developed a significant water culture, stemming from years of scarcity. A great example of this is the imaginative techniques used by the farmers to irrigate their crops, so well reflected in La Geria. Today, when we turn a tap on and the water simply comes out (something unthinkable years ago) we are inclined to waste it. The water culture should be preserved, as drinking water costs a lot more that the price consumers pay for it.
THE SOLUTION FROM THE SEA
The fact is that Lanzarote is completely surrounded by sea - but it is salt water, which cannot be used for agriculture or human consumption. The solution was to eliminate the salt from seawater - desalination - and turn it into fresh water. This solution, which seemed to be a difficult dream to make come true, was the only way to give the island any hope of a future.
WHAT IS A DESALINATION PLANT? If Mankind has managed to step onto the moon, why should it not be able to eliminate the salt from the ocean? Desalination does just that. Logically, new technologies make the plants more efficient, but, basically, they work like this: the seawater is filtered in tanks installed near the seashore. Then the water is pumped through filters - sand and purifying materials - where the water is freed from any substances it may be carrying. Then the water is sent under high pressure to the membranes where the miracle occurs: on one hand salt-free water comes out, the fresh water, whilst on the other, the rest of the water carries off the salt brine.
THE WATER’S CONTINUING VOYAGE Once the saltwater had been transformed into fresh water there still lay ahead a tremendous task: creating and setting up thousands of metres of pipelines, together with pumping stations, to distribute the water all over the island. At the same time, however, with the increasing population and the boom in tourism, the amount of water coming from one sole desalination plant soon became completely insufficient. The main objective had been achieved, but now it was necessary to increase production, installing new desalination plants and new water distribution networks all over Lanzarote.
INALSA 2007 - Aviso Legal - Enlaces - Contactar
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