Water Treatment

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Water is the basic resource to ensure life for all living beings on the planet.


Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a fundamental right, yet billions of people around the world continue to face enormous difficulties in accessing the most basic services on a daily basis.


Water treatment is a process with different types of operations (physical, chemical, physico-chemical or biological) that allows the elimination and/or reduction of pollution or undesirable characteristics of water, making it possible to obtain water with the characteristics suitable for its intended use.


Water treatment is becoming increasingly necessary due to the scarcity of drinking water and the growing needs of the world's population. Of the total amount of water on the planet, only 2.5% is fresh water, and of this amount, only 0.4% is water suitable for human consumption.


© World Resources Institutes

The study conducted by the World Resources Institute of the United Nations Global Compact (2019) , 17 countries out of 164, representing a quarter of the world's population, face extremely high water stress, where irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw more than 80% of their available supply, on average, each year. In parallel, 44 countries, representing one-third of the world, face "high" levels of water stress, where, on average, more than 40% of the available supply is withdrawn each year.


Water stress poses serious threats to human life, livelihoods and business stability. According to the World Bank (2020), about 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to safely managed drinking water services, 3.6 billion lack safe sanitation services, and 2.3 billion lack basic hand-washing facilities.


Under this scenario, three alternatives emerge as solutions: reuse of treated wastewater, desalination of seawater and improving the quality of contaminated brackish water.

Potencial en Chile

In the report conducted (2019) by the World Resources Institute1 of the United Nations Global Compact, Chile is ranked 18th, placing it in the second level called "high water stress", thus positioning it as the country with the highest water scarcity in Latin America.


Chile treats more than 99% of its urban wastewater (41,000 L/s). Of the treated wastewater, 22% (>9,000 L/s) is discharged into the sea.  The rest is reused directly or indirectly by discharge into rivers or lakes. In relation to this, it is necessary to advance in a business model to take advantage of the treated wastewater that is discharged into the sea, with which the same amount of fresh water could be obtained as with gray water in 20 years.


Today in Chile 8,000 L/s of desalinated seawater is produced in more than 20 desalination plants, located between the regions of Tarapacá and Valparaíso, which corresponds to almost 20% of the total potable water consumed in the country and is expected to double by 20303.


Desalination plants can generate water safely and constantly, without depending on rainfall, for human, industrial or agricultural consumption. The cost of desalinated water on the coast can vary between 1 and 3 $/liter and of this cost, half is due to the investment and half to the operational cost. This cost can increase up to three times or more, in case of driving the water very far from the coast and/or at high altitude3.


At present, there are about 1,897 RPA2 systems located throughout the country, which supply more than 99% of the population in concentrated rural areas, reaching approximately 1,740,639 inhabitants. According to studies conducted by FCR, there would be more than 300 wells that are outside the NCh 409 standard.


1 https://www.wri.org/insights/17-countries-home-one-quarter-worlds-population-face-extremely-high-water-stress

2 https://doh.mop.gob.cl/APR/Materiales/Triptico%20Historia%20APR%202019act.pdf

3 https://www.acades.cl/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Presentacion-ACADES-13-jul-2022.pdf

Water Treatment Services

Modeling and techno-economic evaluation of desalination technologies.

  • Thermal (solar and waste heat) and mechanical desalination.
  • Comparison between Membrane Distillation (MD), and other conventional technologies such as nanofiltration (NF), Reverse Osmosis (RO), among others.
  • Economic indicators: LCOW, LCOH, LCOE, Payback.

Analysis and chemical characterization of water

  • Analysis of water samples from APRs and irrigation water sources.
  • Comparison with the corresponding regulations (NCh 409 and NCh 1333).
  • Analysis and selection of water treatment technologies to improve the quality of the resource, according to the type of contaminant.

Technical and economic feasibility of water treatment systems

  • Thermally (solar and waste heat) and mechanically activated treatment plants.
  • Economic Indicators: LCOW, LCOH, LCOE, Payback, CAPEX
  • According to the type of water demand (flow rate range) and application, range of values of LCOW, LCOH and LCOE, Payback and CAPEX.
  • Comparison between membrane distillation (MD) and conventional technologies (NF, OI, among others).

Implementation, monitoring and economic impact study of the use of water treatment technologies applied in agriculture.

  • Measurement and monitoring of water quality of APRs and irrigation water sources before and after implementing a water treatment technology.
  • Study of productive impact on selected agricultural crops when implementing water treatment plants in irrigation water sources.
  • Analysis of costs associated with the implementation and start-up of a water treatment plant (LCOW, LCOH, LCOE, Payback and Capex) and comparison with the corresponding technical-economic pre-feasibility study.