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LatAm's largest desal plant troubled by Chile's water infrastructure

Bnamericas Published: Friday, March 08, 2019
LatAm's largest desal plant troubled by Chile's water infrastructure

Chile's ENAPAC desalination plant could face problems supplying water to northern Chile due to the poor state of local networks, which suffer from water losses.

During the Desalination Latin America 2019 conference, hosted by Vostok Capital in Santiago, ENAPAC's engineering manager Mario Rubio told BNamericas on Thursday that the water system of Copiapó in Atacama region has a loss rate of 20% "in the best of cases," and that the average rate in Chile is 30%.

"What concerns me when it comes to potable water usage is that the user or client would have to pay very high pumping costs," he added, saying that local networks are in need of an overhaul.

However, he said that ENAPAC could act as a backup to the desalination plant planned by local state-owned services concessionaire Econssa.

Rubio said the US$500mn ENAPC project recently obtained its concession to use seawater and was advancing talks with local mining companies to secure water supply contracts, especially with those that could receive water via gravity impulsion.

The plant, which would be powered by a 100MW photovoltaic plant, would produce up to 2,600l/s, making it the largest in Latin America.

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