Heatwave with over 44 degrees C (111 F) around the Mediterranean: in the stone companies of Turkey, Spain and Greece, saving water is part of everyday life even in normal weather

Rain - what a pleasure.

Recycling of consumption water and rainwater harvesting are key issues

When we were children, the grown-ups told us about temperatures above 40 degrees C (104 F) in desert regions and other distant and mysterious zones of the earth. In the meantime, such temperature extremes regularly occur around the Mediterranean Sea: currently, temperatures in Turkey, Spain and Greece reach 44 degrees and above. This makes water a precious commodity, and we asked stone companies there what their water managment is like.

Generally speaking, stone companies have had water conservation on their agenda for a long time, because otherwise their consumption would be huge and an extreme cost factor.

Erdogan Akbulak, head of the Turkish company SilkarStone, gives a few figures: “In our two production plants, we have a daily circulation of circa 1800 t of water.“ One ton of water is equivalent to 1000 liters. The water goes, for example, into the sawing of the blocks, and is used to cool the ropes or saw blades, or to bind the stone powder.

Mathematically, this would correspond to a consumption of 45,000 tons per month. However, by far the largest quantity of this is cleaned and reused. “Thanks to these measures, we can keep the actual monthly water consumption at only 1000 to 1250 t.“

In addition to this, the company maintains a rainwater management system: the rain is collected in 2 tanks with 20 t each. The wet does not go into production, but is used for cleaning the factory halls or for irrigation on the premises.

“Our measures and investments allow us to save about 44,000 t of water per month“, says Akbulak.

Catalina Sánchez, CEO at Rosalstones in the Spanish province of Murcia not far from the Mediterranean, answers our questions similarly. She clarifies, “Saving water has always been an issue for us.“

When we wanted to know more with a “why?“ she makes a clear commitment to environmental awareness: “In general, you should not waste natural resources, even if they’re abundant.“

Therefore, the first sawing process in her plant is dry. After that comes recycling and reusing the water. “In our case, only small amounts need to be added again after being are lost through evaporation, for example.“

Her company also operates a rainwater management system.

A particular theme at Rosalstones is the re-planting of former quarries with stored rainwater. Such zones are trickily designed: the terraces slope slightly back toward the hill so that rain does not run off easily.

To reduce erosion as a result of heavy rain, the ditches are specially designed, as developed by the Spanish over centuries.

In these greening zones, there is another water measure: rainwater ponds are created so that animals and plants find habitats.

At Hellenic Marbles Group (HMG), a major quarry operator in Greece, “water conservation is a big issue,“ as Commercial Director Stavros Tzanidis told us. “Recycling water is part of water management for us.“ Special zones are also be used in the quarries to capture rain.

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(25.07.2023, USA: 07.25.2023)