On Thursday 22 June, The King opened a new desalination plant at Sandvik on northern Öland to clean brackish water from the Baltic Sea.
In recent years, Öland has suffered an acute shortage of water. The new desalination plant at Sandvik is one of many measures to deal with water supply issues on Öland in both the long and short terms.
The new plant will desalinate brackish water from the Baltic Sea, giving the people of Öland clean water with low salinity. The technique has been tried and tested in locations such as the Middle East and Spain, where the desalination of sea water accounts for a significant proportion of water production. There is also a similar desalination plant on Gotland.
The King was welcomed by County Governor of Kalmar Thomas Carlzon, Director of Borgholm Energi AB Anders Lindholm and Borgholm Municipal Commissioner Ilko Corkovic, after which he was given a tour of the new plant.
In his opening speech, The King said:
"The water issue is very much a global issue. We can benefit by learning from each other. The plant here in Sandvik is based on technology developed in locations such as the Middle East and Spain. And the experiences gained here in Sandvik will be used in many other places in Sweden.
"Not only is producing fresh water through desalination an exciting technology. It will probably also be an important tool for meeting one of our greatest challenges: ensuring access to clean water for everyone.
"I very much look forward to following developments here on Öland.
"I hereby declare the Sandvik desalination plant open!"
The King then opened the desalination plant by watering a rockrose on the stage.
The water shortage on Öland and Sandvik Desalination Plant
Extremely low levels of precipitation in 2015 and 2016 led to a serious water shortage on Öland. Several actions were taken to provide water in the short and long terms. A water pipe was built to the mainland, water was transported by tanker, new wells were drilled and old wells were brought back into use. Infiltration facilities were also prepared ahead of the coming rainfall period.
In August 2016, the first turf was cut for a new waterworks in Sandvik to desalinate brackish water from the Baltic Sea. The production of fresh water via desalination is based on filtering technology. Untreated water from the sea is drawn in, either via an open intake in a pipe or via shoreline wells. The water is then filtered in several stages.
The treatment produces clean water with low salinity, in which odour, taste and colour have also been reduced. Before mains distribution, the water is disinfected using either chlorine or UV light.