Communication 44 – Irrigation Water First quarter 2024

Dear owners,

Following the communication 36, sent on 9.03.2024, where we informed you about the declaration of drought in the Region of Murcia, we contact you again to inform you about what happened during the first quarter of 2024 regarding the irrigation water in Hacienda Riquelme.

As you all know, the only source of irrigation water income at Hacienda Riquelme is the Valdelentisco desalination plant through the provisional concession that HRGR Admin obtained in December 2022 from the Confederación Hidrográfica del Segura (CHS).

Since 1st January 2024 the availability of irrigation water at HRGR has been as follows:

– 2.01.2024: CHS informs of new water restrictions being able to make use of only 70% of the concession. From this date, water intakes are left open.

– 25.01.2024: CHS informs that due to technical problems the water supply will be interrupted from 26.01.2024 until 29.01.2024. 

Between 2nd January and 1st February the community was able to use 6,791m3 of water. 

The 13,000m3 (70% of the total monthly provisional concession) could not be used in January due to two major breakdowns in the community’s irrigation system. One between phase 1 and phase 5 and the other in the irrigation pumping system. 

– 1.02.2024: there was a general water cut due to the desalination plant being shut down for the annual maintenance scheduled for the first fortnight of February. On the other hand, the repair of a breakdown. Below is an image of the news item published on 2nd February on the breakdown in question and a link to the complete news item published in the newspaper La Verdad. News published on 2.02.2024 about the breakageTranslation into English: 

“The damage caused by the Valdelentisco desalination plant ‘torpedo’.

The Valdelentisco desalination plant has some 350 osmosis tubes that work at high pressure. They have cracks due to their age or the deterioration of an inner membrane that protects them. The plant has approximately 1,800 tubes. One of them burst a few days ago and threw the head like a projectile against the security fence, which was destroyed, as can be seen in the photograph to which LA VERDAD has had access.

Acuamed has brought forward the planned maintenance work at the plant, while awaiting the reports commissioned from two pipe manufacturing companies, as well as an external study. This is the first time that this accident has occurred in Spain, but not in desalination plants in other countries, although for different reasons, according to various sources. If the equipment is not replaced, the desalination plant could operate at one third of its capacity.”

– 20.02.2024: they again reported a delay in the start-up of irrigation due to the aforementioned fault. 

– 28.02.2024: they continued to work on repairing the breakdown. They expected to have the desalination plant working during the first fortnight of March.

– 19.03.2024: We finally received information about the opening of the water intakes in the Sucina area. It was going to be on Wednesday 20.03.2024 and for 24 hours only, interrupting on Thursday morning, 21.03.2024. 

Following the information received, STV arranged everything for irrigation on Wednesday night. However, the pressure received was not more than 1 kilo, so unfortunately it was not possible to irrigate. The pressure was not even sufficient to switch on the irrigation pump, as with such a low pressure the pumps would have burnt out. 

It takes between 3 and 4 kilos of pressure to be able to irrigate optimally in HR. 

Given the extreme water shortage that HR is facing, permission was requested from CHS to leave the HR intake open on Thursday night as well 21.03.2024 since no water was used during the previous 24 hours. It was achieved and therefore the irrigation has taken place between early evening yesterday (around 17.00) and today 15.00 in the afternoon. As of this morning 9.00 the amount of water used had been of about 1.600m3. 

Please be aware that in HR it is always windy and even a slight breeze can cause the water from the sprinklers to drift away from the grass area, and therefore some of the water may drip onto the footpaths and streets instead of staying all over the lawn, which would be ideal.

A few incidents have also been detected which have been solved appropriately. It is normal that after almost 2 months without irrigation, a breakdown may occur or a sprinkler or diffuser may get stuck, not cutting off the water in due time, and causing areas to become waterlogged.  

– 22.03.2024: CHS has informed again this morning that the water will be cut off until next Monday 25.03.2024 where the supply will be available for 20 – 24 hours. 

What provisional water concession does HRGR have?

The monthly concession in normal situations is about 19,000m3.

Provisionally and due to the restrictions only 70% of the water can be used, 13,000m3, as long as there are no further restrictions due to the declaration of drought reported in communication 36. 

Foresight for the future? 

Work on the construction of the new pumping station is still in progress. 

As soon as possible, we will start pumping water into the lake that GNK allows us to use to store water for use once the new pumping is operational. 

No planting, scarifying, or other work requiring continuous irrigation is planned to begin until there is certainty of water availability.

We will keep you informed of progress.

Additional information on the Valdelentisco desalination plant is included in the link below: 


Thank you,

Kind regards,