Desalination Plant 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Finance Ministry is prepared to buy water from private desalination
companies at much higher prices than it is prepared to pay Mekorot (the national
water company), according to people involved in Mekorot’s desalination project
The Finance Ministry was offering private companies NIS 2.75
per cubic meter of water, whereas Mekorot was compelled to commit to a price of
NIS 2.36 per cubic meter of water as a condition for obtaining a permit for its
facility, the sources said.
The yearlong battle between Mekorot and the
Finance Ministry has delayed the 100-million-cu.-m.-a-year Ashdod desalination
facility, which will be one of the largest in the world, even as Israel’s water
shortage worsens in one of the worst droughts in decades.
subsidiary Mekorot Development & Enterprise awarded the tender to build the
Ashdod desalination plant to the IVM consortium, comprising Minrav Holdings and
Spain’s Valoriza Agua, a division of Sacyr Vallehermoso subsidiary
However, shortly after construction began, the inter-ministerial
tenders committee ordered a halt to the work and demanded that Mekorot commit to
a price of NIS 2.36 per cu. m. of water. Mekorot, which based the project on a
price of NIS 2.85 per cu. m., said it could not meet this price.
Finance Ministry said the lower price was based on the tender for the Soreq
desalination plant, which was completed a few days before, and was won by a
consortium of IDE Technologies and Hutchison Water, with a price of NIS 2.01 per