Israel plans world's biggest seawater desalination plant

13:26, June 21, 2010      

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the country is planning what officials touted as the world's largest seawater desalinization plant.

The Sorek desalination facility, to be constructed inland from the coastal city of Ashkelon, will supply 150 million cubic meters annually, a quarter of the Jewish state's needs, said Netanyahu's office in a statement.

The 300,000-square-meter desalination facility will include a pumping station, reservoirs, pipelines and an electric installation, and is slated to be part of a major national infrastructure project.

The Israeli cabinet on Sunday discussed the ramifications of the desalination plant, and related infrastructure projects, including connecting Israeli army bases to a wastewater treatment network, the statement said.

Sorek and another plant, currently under construction, are due to come on-line over the next three years.

Israel officially inaugurated a large-scale reverse osmosis facility in May, located near the city of Hadera. The coastal plant south of Haifa could supply drinking water for a million of the country's central district residents.

Hadera joins three existing desalinization plants that already produce some 230 million cubic meters of water.

Israel has coped with semi-arid zone water shortages for much of its 62 years of existence. The government, in an effort to increase Israel's water self-sufficiency, passed a bill to step up total output by an additional 75 million cubic meters.

When completed, the network will supply 80 percent of the country's needs, with the remainder coming from rainfall and groundwater.



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