Construction and Operation of Seawater Desalination Plants
Topic of the practice
Water scarcity and increased water demand
Good Practice Information
The prolonged drought of the last decade of the 20th century has drastically reduced the water reserves of the surface and underground reservoirs. Therefore in order to eliminate the dependency of the towns and tourist centers on annual rainfall and in view of the increasing water demand, the Government of Cyprus decided to proceed with the construcion of sea water desalination plants. Three desalination plants are currenlty in operation in Cyprus, with a total nominal capacity equivalant to about 25% of total water demand. the first one was commissioned in 1997 in Dekelia and has a nominal capacity of of 40,000 m3 / day. This plant serves the needs of the free area of Famagusta and part of the needs of Larnaca and Nicosia. The second one is located in Larnaca and is in operation since 2001, with a nominal capacity of 52,000 m3/day. The third unit is ship-based, commissioned in 2009 with a nominal capacity of 20,000 m3/day.
Both non-mobile desalination plants have been constucted with the use of the self-finance method. The Contract is a BOOT type (Built, Own, Operate and Transfer) i.e. the contractors using their own funds, undertook to design, construst and operate the Plants for the fixed period of 10 years. The Government has the obligation to buy a minimum quantity of desalinated water over a period of 10 years. After the expiration of the said period, the Plants become property of the Government with the latter, having the option to buy the Plant before the end of 10 years period.
Evidence of success
The basis of the technology used is reliable and well tested. The plants may address the needs of various city sizes. Mobile plants can be best placed to suit the needs of rural coastal areas. Drawbacks of the solution are mainly related to the relatively energy-intensive nature of the technology used. The mean consumption rate is 4.52kWh/m3 of desalinated water. The production of 40,3 Mm3/a requires about 4% of total electricity generated in Cyprus. However, recent developments in desalination plants may use renewable energy sources and/or co-generate electricity and heat, with very possitive results. The contribution of theese Plants to the solution of the water scarity in Cyprus, is significant. The two non mobile plants that are already operating cover almost fully the needs for potable water in the three districts (Nicosia, Larnaca and free area of Famagusta).
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Sofoclis Aletraris - Director
Water Development Department
Annex completed on: 06-20-2011