Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: Fundación Copec-UC will hold an international meeting to address solutions to water scarcity

On Thursday, November 11 at 9:00 a.m. a new version of the international seminars organized by the Foundation will be held and, given the great relevance of the subject, two national authorities will join the discussion: the Minister of the Environment, Carolina Schmidt, and the Minister of Public Works, Alfredo Moreno.

Chile is one of the 10 nations most vulnerable to climate change as it meets 7 of the 9 conditions defined by the United Nations . One of its most serious consequences is the 13 years of the worst drought in the history of the country.

Currently the north-central and south-central areas are experiencing rainfall deficits that reach up to 80% compared to a normal year; a significant reduction in accumulated snow that registers deficits higher than 85% of the historical average; with the main reservoirs in the country being used at just 34% of their capacity, and with a projection for river flow close to historical lows.

In September this year, the government announced the “Drought Plan”, which seeks to face the water emergency, increase the availability of water , improve its use, and ensure the supply for human consumption and food production.

Aware of this dramatic scenario, the Copec-UC Foundation will hold the XVII version of its International Seminar entitled: “Use of seawater, is it a solution to face water scarcity?” .

“ Given that Chile has a coastline of 6,435 kilometers, the question arises as to whether seawater could be a sustainable solution to face water scarcity. To clarify this question, prominent speakers, both national and international, will pose challenges, address the main difficulties faced by the countries that have made the most progress in this area, and reveal the development of innovative solutions that have been implemented worldwide ” , affirms Alfonso Cruz, executive director of Fundación Copec-UC.

Israel case: abundant water in the middle of the desert
The amount of rainfall in Israel is not constant over the years. In 2004, the country relied heavily on groundwater and rainwater. Thanks to the desalination method invented by the Israeli scientist Alexander Zarchin in 1964, the country no longer needs to depend on the climate to supply drinking water to the population and to many production processes.

Today, 70% of Israel’s domestic water demand is supplied by desalination, a process that removes salt and other impurities from seawater to produce drinking water .

Currently there is a production close to 24 million cubic meters per day of desalinated water worldwide. Israel produces about 2 million cubic meters of desalinated water per day, to meet the needs of its population and its industry.

As of the year 2022, Israel hopes to be the first country in the world to fully supply itself from desalination plants. The country has five of these plants, of which two are the largest in the world: Sorek and Idam.

Nir Becker, author and editor of the book “The politics of water in Israel”, will participate in the Seminar organized by Fundación Copec-UC. On the occasion, he will address the successful Israeli case, in the sustainable use of seawater.

Becker, is a professor of economics at Tel-Hai Academic College. He is currently dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, specializing in environmental and resource economics. He is also a consultant to the Ministry of the Environment and other environmental organizations of the Society for the Protection of Nature of Israel.

Spain case: pioneer in water desolation
The history of desalination in Spain dates back to 1964 in Lanzarote, with the installation of the first desalination plant in that country.

According to data provided by the Spanish Association for Desalination and Reuse, in Spain around 5 million cubic meters of desalinated water are produced daily for human supply, irrigation and industrial use. Spain is a world benchmark country in this matter, for this reason Domingo Zarzo will be the second international speaker at the Copec-UC Foundation seminar . Zarzo is director of innovation and strategic projects of the company Sacyr Agua – Spain, since 1995 and a founding member of the company.

Zarzo is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Association for Desalination and Water Reuse and of the Board of Directors of IDA (International Desalination Association). He is the author of numerous articles, presentations and 3 patents on water treatment.

Chile in the sustainable use of seawater
Considering Chile’s geography, the questions regarding whether the use of seawater is a solution to face water scarcity seems to take on increasing significance. In this way, Daniela Rivera, Director of the Center for Water Law and Management of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, will address the legal and management framework for the use of seawater, a global perspective .

Due to the relevance of the topic, two national authorities will participate in the seminar. The Minister of the Environment, Carolina Schmidt , who will refer to the environmental challenges of the use of seawater for Chile and the world; and the Minister of Public Works, Alfredo Moreno, who will address the public policy and strategic agenda for the sustainable use of seawater in Chile.



The event will be broadcast via streaming on Thursday, November 11 starting at 09:00 hours on Emol TV , and its objective is to contribute to the discussion and the work of R + D + i.


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