García promotes desalinization of sea water for arid coast

President Alan García announced a national objective today to desalinate water from the Pacific Ocean for human consumption and to irrigate agriculture on Peru’s arid coast. He made the announcement during the inauguration of the “Desalination of Sea Water: A New Alternative,” a forum which includes Peruvian authorities and specialists from Spain, Israel, South Korea, France and Chile.

García said new technology now allows for desalination of sea water to be more economical than transporting water from Peru’s highlands, Agencia Andina reported. He added that two or three treatment plants would be a large source of hydropower and potable water for Lima – the World’s second largest desert city after Cairo.

“This topic, known for decades, has recently achieved a level of technological development that allows us to incorporate it with absolute realism as a national objective,” said García.

Desalinating water from the Pacific Ocean would also benefit agriculture by providing irrigation to plantations along the country’s northern and southern coasts.

García’s comments follow announcements by South Koreas Doosan Heavy Industries Company yesterday, which said they are interested in investing $1.5 billion to create two desalination plants north and south of Lima. The plants would provide potable water for some 1.5 million people and generate important hydro energy.

The majority of the freshwater supply to Peru’s arid coast – where half of the population lives – currently comes from Andean glaciers. However climate change is causing the glaciers to melt at an alarming rate. For instance, in the last three decades the glaciers have lost some 22 percent of their mass threatening the population’s potable water supply and source of hydropower.

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