The European Investment Bank, the EU’s long-term financing institution, announces the signing of a EUR 120 million finance contract relating to the design and construction of a seawater desalination plant using reverse osmosis technology in Ashdod, Israel.

The contract has been signed with Bank Hapoalim, which will on-lend the funds to Ashdod Desalination Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Mekorot Development and Enterprise Ltd. The project 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 100 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 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.