Domingo Zarzo Martínez, President of the AEDyR
Mª Carmen García Panadero, Vice-president of the AEDyR
Yet again, the weather conditions and water stress of many regions of Spain and the rest of the world demonstrate the importance of desalination and reuse of water for the supply of the most valuable resource of all…water. Almost 100 million cubic metres of desalinated water is produced each day worldwide and everything points to this figure continuing to grow in 2019. In fact, experts forecast that the global seawater desalination market will see more active growth this year than in the last decade. The intense drought that has affected Australia and South Africa for some time once again highlights the importance of desalination to guarantee water supply. Growth trends in the water reuse sector are also promising. The importance of reuse as a solution to growing worldwide water problems has been gaining leverage in recent years, partially driven by new legislation and the increasingly consolidated concept of the circular economy. There are even forecasts indicating that the volume of reused water will exceed that of desalinated water in the near future. On our continent, everything points to the beginning of February as the time when the European parliament will give the green light to the draft legislation regulating water reuse for agricultural irrigation. We are confident that this will drive the growth of water reuse in the irrigation sector and that this will be reflected in the hydrological planning of European countries. Spain’s leading role in the production and use of desalinated water is the subject of admiration beyond our borders. However, territorial and political tensions within our country continue to dominate the debate on desalination. Although it is true that there are few, if any, voices that now fail to recommend the inclusion of desalination as an indispensable element of hydrological plans, it is equally true that it is still necessary to achieve lasting agreement that goes beyond short-term interests. And this can only be done by joining technical and political forces. Hopefully 2019 will be the year in which this very necessary consensus is achieved. It is impossible to speak of desalination and water reuse without mentioning the leading international position occupied by Spanish companies in the sector. We ended 2018 and begin 2019 with promising news that continues to underline this fact and it is a source of pride to the AEDyR, as the representative of the Spanish industry, to follow closely the success of Spanish companies, who continue to undertake projects across the five continents at an admirable pace. 2018 was a particularly significant year for the AEDyR. We celebrated our twentieth anniversary and we did so, as always, with our eyes fixed on the future. Toledo was the venue for the 12th International Congress of the AEDyR. This edition of the event had a more dynamic, practical and participative format in order to promote interaction and networking amongst attendees. Once again, this biennial congress enjoyed great success in terms of national and international attendance and it provided a framework for the presentation of over 55 papers, 17 poster presentations and a number of round table discussions on the latest innovations in the sector. We recommend that you watch videos of the event on our Youtube channel. As in each edition, there were prizes for the best papers on desalination and reuse, as well as for the best poster. The honours on this occasion went to “LIFE+13 TRANSFOMEM: “Validation of recycled membranes in low and medium pressure filtration processes”, by Patricia Terrero Rodríguez and “Use of bioreactors with wood for brine denitrification in Campo de Cartagena”, by Juan José Martínez. The award for best poster went to “LIFE-DESEACROP: “Desalinated seawater for alternative and sustainable soilless crop production” by Mercedes Calzada Garzón. Nonetheless, we did not wish to forego the opportunity to avail of the celebration of our 20th anniversary to look back on our history, the history of desalination in Spain. For this reason, during the opening ceremony of the congress, we presented a documentary report entitled ‘Desalination in Spain at first hand: from pioneering milestones to an international benchmark’. This report can be seen at www. historiadesalacion.es. In this audio-visual report, we wished to commemorate some of the pioneers who participated in the creation and development of this sector, and to present the history of desalination in Spain, which is unknown to many, despite its vital importance in the economic growth of our country and the worldwide development of this industry. We at the AEDyR would like to thank Manuel Fariñas, Juan Antonio García Arroyo, Mª Carmen García, José Antonio Medina, Juan María Sánchez and Miguel Torres for their selfless participation in this project. We would also like to thank our members for providing us with the images that made possible this audio-visual documentary, through which we wish to bring desalination closer to a wider audience. The city of Valencia was chosen by the IDA (International Desalination Association) as the venue for its second International Conference on Water Reuse and Recycling, held in cooperation with the AEDyR. With the theme of ‘Making every drop count’, the event focused on the current situation of the sector, the importance of regulatory frameworks and new financing solutions. Expectations for the event were undeniably exceeded, with intensive participation of delegates from 29 countries and in an unbeatable setting, given that the Spanish Mediterranean coast is amongst the areas of Europe with the highest production of reclaimed water. And 2019 has begun. At the AEDyR, we begin the year with renewed energy and we have consolidated our presence online with new social network profiles. And we will also launch a blog on our website in the near future. This new digital identity for the AEDyR has the main objectives of endowing the work of our members with even greater visibility and bringing the reality of desalination and water reuse in Spain and worldwide to a wider public. In addition, the matriculation period has commenced for the online course “Specialist in Desalination and Reuse of Water” offered by the University of Alicante, in collaboration with the AEDyR. This is the only specific official University qualification in this field and, bearing in mind the great present and future prospects of the sector, we expect national and international demand for places to continue growing, as has been the case in previous editions. We are also planning to hold two technical seminars this year. At this point in time, we can reveal that, given the success of previous editions, we will be holding the third seminar on the “Use of New Materials and Products in Desalination and Reuse” on May 22 at the prestigious Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos. The AEDyR kicks off 2019 with the same enthusiasm as 21 years ago. We will continue working to offer our members a better service, and to promote the research and development of desalination and water reuse technologies. We will also work to consolidate the dissemination of the know-how of this sector to Spanish society. Because, if there is one thing of which we are certain at the AEDyR, it is that the future of desalination and reuse is even more promising than the past, a past that still is very much in our minds.