May 23, 2011

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Massive Desalination Plant Gets Go Ahead Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz signed an agreement today approving the construction and operation of a massive new desalination facility near Ashdod [to turn seawater into usable water]. The plant, which will be one of the largest in the world, will, on completion, mean that almost 70% of Israel’s water needs will be met by desalinated sources. The new facility will cost $400 million and is expected to be completed in 2013. The go ahead follows an international tender which was awarded to IDE Technologies, an Israeli world leader in water technologies and the Singapore-based Hutchinson Water International Holdings Pte. The two organizations will design, plan and run the plant. Investments have also been made by the European Investment Bank, Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi [Hapoalim and Leumi are two Israeli banks]. This will be the fourth desalination plant in Israel which has been built with the cooperation of the private sector. Uzi Landau the National Infrastructure Minister said at the signing at the finance ministry. “The efforts of the National Infrastructure Ministry have come to fruition and the true beneficiary of these efforts is the Israeli citizen. We fight for every drop of water,” Landau said. “Like the ‘finance minister of nature,’ I am proud to say that I am responsible for the fact that even after six years of drought, while our neighbors in the Middle East gave water to their citizens by means of tankers, residents of Israel are opening the tap and getting their water.”

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