Less than two years after the government’s decision to significantly increase Israel’s desalination capacity, the Israeli IDE Technologies and Bank Leumi were selected as winners of a tender for the construction and operation of a new desalination plant at Palmachim Beach.
The new Sorek 2 facility, with the production capacity of 200 million cubic meters of water per year, is expected to be the largest of its kind in the world, increasing the state’s desalination capacity by 35%.
Desalinated water from the new plant is expected to flow as early as 2023.
The new plant joins five operational facilities in Israel and will strengthen the country’s ability to contend with future droughts.
IDE’s proposal was at an unprecedented price of about NIS 1.45 per cubic meter of water, the lowest price by about 65 Agorot compared to the lowest price per cubic meter of water currently paid. IDE improved its first offer by about 20 Agorot per cubic meter of water.
This improvement will save water consumers about NIS 1 billion and save the water economy about NIS 3.3 billion over the period of the facility’s operations.
The project will be funded by a consortium of entities including Israel’s Bank Leumi, the German KFW Bank, and the European Union’s European Investment Bank (EIB), which will provide a € 150 million loan for the project. This loan will save the water economy about NIS 100 million.
Finance Minister Yisrael Katz stated that the new plant will “significantly increase the state’s water supply and save huge sums to the water economy.”
Minister of Water Resources Ze’ev Elkin said that “ending the tender and commencing construction on a new desalination plant in Soreq is a historic event in the Israeli economy.”
Building the plant will “give the State of Israel confidence in the strength of our water resources also in a succession of dry years, and the new tender also allows to significantly reduce costs. The State of Israel is once again proving to be the world’s leading technological power in the field of water resources,” he added.
Over the years, Israel has transformed itself from a country with serious water shortages to a global water powerhouse, exporting its knowledge to arid regions around the world.