Israel’s Finance Ministry has approved funding for the construction of a seawater desalination plant in Sorek, said to be one of the world’s largest such plants.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2013, at a cost of $400 million. The new plant will desalinate about 150 cubic meters of water per year, or about 20 percent of Israel’s domestic water consumption and about 10% of its potable water consumption.
“This step will make a significant contribution to solving Israel’s water crisis,” said Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.
There are currently three desalination plants operating in Israel. Once the Sorek plant is operational, about 65 percent of Israelis’ household water needs will be supplied by desalinated water.
The construction of the facility in Sorek is another step in the implementation of the Ministry of National Infrastructures and Government Water and Sewage Authority’s emergency plan for Israel’s water sector, which set a desalination target of at least 750 million cubic meters by no later than the year 2020.
The desalination plant will be based on advanced membrane desalination technology enabling a savings in costs and a reduction in energy consumption. The plant will produce high-quality water that will be conveyed directly to the National Carrier.
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. 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 Israel’s consumers,” said Oded Fixler, acting director general of the Water Authority.
The Sorek plant will produce water at a cost of two shekels, or 57 cents, per cubic meter.