More water to be desalinated this year

The inter-ministerial tenders committee accepted bids from the three companies operating or building desalination plants in Israel on Wednesday to increase the amount of desalinated water they would provide. The total increase would be 57 million cubic meters of water, or 25 percent more than the 130 million cubic meters of water being desalinated already. The increase will occur as soon as the government accepts the bids. The Ashkelon and Palmahim plants bid to increase their output by 15 mcm, and the as yet unfinished Hadera plant by 27 mcm. The Hadera plant is set to be finished in late 2009. The government agreed to pay NIS 2.60 per meter of water until 2027. The increase will cost an estimated half a billion shekels.