09/08/2011 04:54

Proposal would allow desalinated water to account for 85 percent of domestic consumption by the year 2013.
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The Palmahim desalination plant has submitted a proposal to the Interministerial Tenders Committee for Water Desalination to increase its output by 45 million cubic meters per year.

That would allow desalinated water to account for 85 percent of domestic consumption by the year 2013, the Finance Ministry announced in a statement on Wednesday.

Palmahim’s proposal was the sole response to a Tenders Committee call for the existing desalination facilities – Palmahim, Hadera and Ashkelon – to submit plans for expanded operation, the statement said. Having reviewed the proposal, the Tenders Committee will next check its compliance with legal, financial and engineering regulations, according to the ministry.

Under the proposal, Palmahim would increase its output to 90 million cubic meters per year in 2013. Tallying this addition with the other existing facilities as well as plants currently being developed in Soreq and Ashdod – slated to be complete in 2013 – the country would have a total supply of 587 million cubic meters of desalinated water annually by the end of that year, accounting for 85% of domestic water consumption and 45% of freshwater consumption, the ministry said.

The long-term price of the water will be established by the Tenders Committee after the compliance checks are complete and calculations of added operational costs of the expansion are determined, but for now and throughout the expansion will remain NIS 2.09 per cubic meter of water, similar to the price fixed for Soreq and significantly less than that of the other plants, according to the ministry. Ashkelon and Hadera have decided not to submit proposals for expansion, as the plants have deemed the water prices too low, the statement said.