Washington may celebrate a win in its tug-of-war with Beijing after the Israeli government awarded a huge contract, to build a massive facility for making saltwater drinkable, to a local company rather than to a Chinese bidder.
A government panel selected IDE Technologies to build a large desalination plant about 15 km south of Tel Aviv. The Israeli company’s bid was chosen over that of Hutchison Water, a water treatment subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate. The win comes less than two weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel and voiced concern about Chinese investment in local infrastructure.
The new facility will be built next to the existing Sorek Desalination Plant and is expected to be commissioned in 2023. Dubbed “Sorek B,” it will produce up to 548,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day. Combined with the first plant’s 624,000 cubic meters-per-day capacity, the site would become one of world’s biggest desalination operations.