Sunday, 17 February 2008

Une maison de l'eau

A centre devoted to evaluating and promoting water technologies concerned with the management and treatment of water is to be built in La Ciotat, a town on the Mediterranean coast of France. It will be located behind the town hall.

La Ciotat port

Photo by Flickr user KiMiz. Creative commons licence.

This story caught my attention because about ten years ago we thought about living in the area but at the time all our parents were alive and we thought it was just too far from them. In spite of visiting several times, we have only this one remaining photo of our own (scanned) of a calanque, a rocky inlet, nearby.

To return to the point of this post, the purposes of the Maison de l'Eau will be

  • educational especially for school children

  • to provide training for professionals who work in the water industry in the region

  • to conduct pilot studies into new approaches for conservation

There are already three projects planned:

One is a desalinisation system to produce between 1 and 2 cubic metres of fresh water per hour for use in the marina. The plant will be situated in the old shipyard. Salt water will be filtered under pressure through a membrane which retains the salts and micro-organisms. They particularly hope to develop a way of doing this using less energy.

Secondly, the use of waste water will be tested on the outskirts of new water treatment centres after treatment by ultraviolet light to disinfect it. The water produced will be used to irrigate green spaces.

Finally, the collection and use of rain water for watering the parc du Mugel, a 12 hectare area. It already has a gravity fed system dating back to the 19th century which will be totally restored.

This is all considered to be a good example of devlopment which is sustainable. I'm not personally very impressed with desalinisation plants, whether they use less energy or not. What happens to the salts which are removed from the water? They must go somewhere, so how do they dispose of them?


  1. I am not familiar with all these techniques but we are being confronted with fines now if we privately use tap water to either water our gardens, use it for swimming pools or wash our cars...the situation is critical. We are hoping for at least some rain this week.

  2. I hadn't realised the situation was quite so critical with you. I know when we're in France, we aren't even allowed use private wells for any of those purposes because it lowers the water table.


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