Temporary reverse osmosis plant fully operational, but some water restrictions remain
A new temporary reverse osmosis plant is now full operational after a 24-hour delay to its scheduled commissioning due to “technical difficulties”.
The delay meant hopes of replenishing reservoir stock levels were also affected.
The plant is now producing water at full capacity, as are AquaGib’s permanent plants.
“The professional advice from AquaGib is to continue with the current restrictions for high consumers for the coming days to ensure our reservoirs can reach the required stock levels needed to provide resilience,” the Gibraltar Government said after the latest meeting of the Strategic Coordinating Group.
“Unfortunately, AquaGib have informed the Government that they have discovered and reported breaches in the restrictions imposed by Government from some high consumers which are currently being fully investigated.”
A further Strategic Coordinating Group meeting has been scheduled for Friday morning, after which the Government expects to be in a clearer position to advise on potential relaxation of remaining restrictions.
A pipe linking Gibraltar to the Spanish potable water network is one of several resilience measures that the Gibraltar Government has explored in the wake of a fire that damaged infrastructure and caused serious disruption to water supply on the Rock.
The decision to explore this possibility was taken at a meeting of the Strategic Coordinating Group early on during the response to fire, and “exclusively” as a possible contingency measure.
“As a result of the fire at Power’s Drive Tunnel, the Government explored a number of contingency measures that could be considered, with some being more feasible than others,” said Albert Isola, the Minister for Utilities.
“We imported significant volumes by road, and non-potable water by barge, as a result of the emergency.”
“Work on all potential options began with the laying of the new pipe at the border being one such measure.”
“I would like to reassure the community that the Government has no intention whatsoever of using this pipe as a permanent supply of potable water from Spain and it will only be used in the future as a contingency measure should an emergency event such as the one we have just experienced ever occur again.”
“We will always ensure we are self-sufficient in our production of water.”
“I am pleased to say that with the temporary reverse osmosis plant now in operation, I hope to see our stock levels increasing significantly, avoiding the need for any further temporary measures.”
AquaGib already had infrastructure in place at the vicinity of the airport that was used many years ago to bring water from natural wells at British Lines to the Hesse’s blending tank, where it was subsequently pumped into the network.
These pipes are currently no longer in operation and new infrastructure is being laid.