Israel receives bids for seventh desalination plant

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Thursday five groups have bid in a tender to build a new desalination plant to help the country contend with future water shortages.

The facility, to be built in northern Israel, will be the country’s seventh desalination plant along the Mediterranean coast. The Middle East is already one of the planet’s most water stressed regions and Israel worries that climate change will intensify the problem.

Preliminary bids to construct the plant, which will produce at least 100 million cubic meters of drinking water a year, came from groups that include Israel’s IDE Technologies, Chinese-linked Hutchison Water, Spain’s Tedagua and Acciona, the Finance Ministry said.

Once the latest plant is completed, an unrivaled 90% of water used by households and industry in Israel will come from desalination plants.

The new plant could also be used to pump fresh water into the Sea of Galilee if its levels drop too low.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen