Israel now gets 40 pct of its water from the sea

The world's largest and lowest-cost desalination plant has fully ramped up in Israel.

The $500 million facility, developed by Israel Desalination Technology, produces 627 million cubic metres of water daily. The conventional reverse osmosis plant is located on a beach 10 miles south of Tel Aviv.

The plant utilized two key technologies to lower costs: osmosis occurs in piping that is 16 inches in diameter rather than the standard 8 inch. Larger piping reduces material costs. The pumps are also much more energy efficient. The plant sells the water profitably to the Israeli public for 58 cents per cubic meter.

With the Sorek plant now operating, Israel now has four large desalination plants that cumulatively provide 40 pct of Israel's water needs. By 2016 more plants are expected to come online and Israel will then get half of its water from the sea.