Salty river on Crete turned into drinking water

Panagiotis Krousaniotakis is home from school and can drink directly from the tap. Not far from his house, the waiters at the tavern close to the beach can serve tourists fresh water for free. And many of the nearby hotels can offer their guests water without a brackish taste.

The Greek island of Crete is a popular tourist attraction with more than 2.5 million visitors every year. Lots of them are accommodated around the island’s capital city, Heraklion, where they live next to its 300,000 permanent residents. Crete has over one thousand kilometres of coastline, but the island is dry and has almost no groundwater. The islanders have therefore relied on rainwater from ancient times. In modern times, the Cretans have made use of expensive bottled water, but now innovative technology packed in four containers is about to change that.

Affordable water from salty river
SYCHEM is a Greek company which specialises in water treatment and especially in desalination using advanced technologies such as reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration. In 2014 they put a brand new public desalination plant into operation west of Heraklion, close to the river of Almyros, which is the Greek word for salty.

“The Almyros Desalination Park is a custom built state-of-the-art facility that can provide fresh and safe drinking water for a fraction of the price. And at the same time we have built the first educational facility in Europe, where people can get to know the technology and benefits of desalination,” says Factory Manager, Notis Ellinakis from SYCHEM.

He explains that it is necessary to inform and educate people, since the technology has a huge potential and most of the islanders are in fact not accustomed to drinking desalinated water. Outside the plant there is an automatic dispenser, where residents can collect the desalinated drinking water for free.

A minimum of maintenance
The plant is almost completely automatic. Every part of the process, from the water intake below the Psiloritis Mountain to the advanced reverse osmosis procedure, can be monitored and controlled from a computer with access to the Internet.

“Since this is a public plant, only a one-time sum of money was allocated for the project, which means that besides being automatic with a minimum of maintenance, we also had to select the best and most reliable products for the plant. For this reason we are very happy with the partnership with Grundfos,” says Mr. Ellinakis.

Mutual trust
From Grundfos Hellas, Key Account Manager Dimitris Dalosis has been connected to the desalination park project and has been able to provide valuable knowledge.

“There has been a mutual trust and a common understanding  throughout the whole process. When SYCHEM came to us with their needs, we were able to give them several suggestions, and they liked and followed our advice,” says Dimitris Dalosis.