Israel's Finance Ministry has approved funding for the construction of the largest water desalination plant in the world. Under construction in Sorek, central Israel, the plant is scheduled to be completed in 2013 at a cost of 400 million US dollars.
Sorek will desalinate about 150 million cubic meters of water per year, or about 20% of the water used for household use in Israel, and is expected to be the largest water desalination plant in the world.
Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz signed the agreement Sunday. This step will make a significant contribution to solving Israel’s water crisis, he said.
Three desalination plants are operating currently in Israel. Once the Sorek plant is operational, some 65% of Israel household water needs will be supplied by desalinated water.
The plant places the State of Israel -- once again -- at the global forefront in terms of water economics, and represents an important and essential step to basing Israel’s water sector on the principles of sustainable development, said Oded Fixler, acting director general of Israel Water Authority.
”Israel’s water reserves are below the red line, agriculture is receiving a reduced quantity of water and Israel’s residents are being asked to continue their efforts to save water as a regular way of life. Streamlined use and intelligent management of the water sector will guarantee its growth for the benefit of all”, he added.
The plant will be using what is technically known as the seawater reverse-osmosis desalination system. The project is a significant milestone in both desalination capacity and water cost, at US$ 0.55/m³, which will result in substantial savings for the Israeli water market.
The plant will use 16-in membranes for the first time in a large-scale facility. The use of this technology will result in increased water output and cost savings, together with a reduction in energy consumption.
Sorek Desalination Ltd (SDL), a company formed by IDE Technologies (51%) and Hutchison Water International Holdings Pte Ltd (49%), has agreed financing with the European Investment Bank, Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi.