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Municipalities managed by Aguas de Alicante have no natural water resources to provide drinking water of suitable quality for the population. Therefore, these resources have come from outside the area for a long time. Obtaining them was and continues to be a milestone that demonstrates and recognises society's tenacity and initiative.
Groundwater: pioneers in supplying water from this source
Alicante's first water distribution network was designed in 1859 by the engineer Jorge Porrua Moreno. Water was drawn from the Casablanca wells, which provided a low hydrological flow to meet the needs of the time. The water was channelled to a tank in Altozano via a masonry canal that was 206 metres long and a tunnel of 450 metres. Over two decades passed before the next supply project was carried out. This took water from La Alcoraya spring, whose hydrological flow was added to that of other nearer flows that were collected. Together, they were enough to meet the demands of the city at the time and provide temporary relief for its inhabitants.
Two years before the end of the nineteenth century, in October, Alicante began to receive groundwater extracted from wells situated in the Prados de Remigio estate, in Fuentes Calientes, part of the municipality of Sax. This source provided hydrological flows that were more than sufficient for the city's needs. Over the years, knowledge of geological formations in the province has been deepened and the extraction of underground resources have been diversified and increased around five bodies of water in the districts of Alto and Medio Vinalopó.
Currently, a total of 18 boreholes are used at depths of between 200 and 600 metres. They produce water to supply towns managed by Aguas Municipalizadas de Alicante. Some of these towns, the most northern, depend entirely on groundwater, while those situated in coastal areas mainly draw their water supply from the Canales del Taibilla Municipal Association, with groundwater sources accounting for around 5-10% of the overall supply.In addition to the aforementioned catchments, there are five boreholes in Alicante town centre. Water from these boreholes is used in the appearance and cleaning of the city: to irrigate landscaped areas and wash down streets. For these purposes, marginal, low-quality water is used from uncatalogued water bodies. If this resource is not used, it flows out to sea in a short time.
Canales del Taibilla Municipal Association
The first water from the Canales del Taibilla Municipal Association reached Alicante in 1958, enabling the urban development of the most touristy areas of the city, such as Playa de San Juan. Since then, a mixed supply has been used that combines surface and underground resources. As a result, the city's supply has exceptional guarantees, which are essential, as it is situated in one of the most arid areas of Spain.
The source of these water resources is varied. Notably, the River Taibilla has provided water since the origins of the organisation, and the Tajo-Segura water transfer channel was incorporated into the system in the 1970s.
Desalination plants have been another source of resources for this independent organisation since the first decade of the new century. They enable the supply to be stabilised, reinforced and guaranteed, as they increase water availability considerably. Alicante municipality contains the desalination plants Alicante 1 and 2 and in nearby municipalities are the desalination plants of San Pedro del Pinatar 1 and 2, as well as Valdelentisco. All of these plants contribute their water flow to the general pipes of the institution that coordinates the entire system.
In addition, during exceptional periods of water shortage, the Canales del Taibilla Municipal Association has obtained resources from the River Segura and from certain geological aquifer formations, including the Calasparra syncline.