The European Investment Bank, the EU’s long-term financing institution, today announces the signing of a EUR 142 million finance contract relating to the design and construction of a seawater desalination plant using reverse osmosis technology in Sorek, Israel.

The contract signed with the company Sorek Desalination Ltd will serve to substantially increase the availability of water resources in a water-scarce region through the construction of a plant with a production capacity of 150 million m3 per year, so enhancing the sustainability of Israel’s water sector. The expansion of desalination technology will have a direct impact on people’s daily lives: the blending of desalinated water with fresh potable water from the national water carrier system will improve the quality of water delivered to consumers by reducing hardness and concentrations of salts, nitrates and boron. It will ultimately result in markedly reduced water abstraction and thus the prevention of saline water intrusion into aquifers.

The financing of this project forms part of the EIB’s support for improving wastewater treatment facilities and drinking water supply in the regions. In Israel, in 2007 and 2009 the Bank supported the construction and extension of the Hadera desalination plant with loans totalling EUR 130 million. In the Mediterranean region as a whole, it has devoted more than EUR 1.05 billion to the water sector. FEMIP (see below) is also working to reduce pollution in the Mediterranean Sea under the “Horizon 2020” initiative, fully in line with one of the six priorities of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Note to editors:

The EIB, the leading finance provider in the Mediterranean region

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the EU’s financing institution. Its shareholders are the 27 EU Member States, which have jointly subscribed its capital, and its Board of Governors is formed by their finance ministers. The purpose of the EIB is to provide long-term finance for investment projects.

Through FEMIP, its financial arm in the Mediterranean, the EIB has since 2002 been committed to providing highly practical support for economic and social development in the Mediterranean with the aim of improving living conditions in the partner countries. This commitment has been unwavering over the years and by the end of 2010 had grown to reach total financing of more than EUR 12 billion in support of the Mediterranean countries.