Israel has selected local IDE Technologies to construct the country’s biggest desalination plant, Sorek B Plant, to help combat water scarcity in a land which suffers from chronic water shortages, reports Reuters.
IDE Technologies and Hutchison Water, whose key investor is Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison Holdings Limited, were both competing for the tender.
At the beginning of May, US officials, apprehensive about the involvement of China in Israel’s strategic infrastructure, expressed concerns over the possibility of Hutchison Water winning the tender.
According to The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli official said: "The Americans have been delivering messages gently and politely but obviously they want us to re-examine the participation of the Chinese company in the tender."
During a visit to Israel this month, Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, said to public broadcaster Kan that the support of China in Israeli infrastructure and communications systems could compromise cooperation with the United States, without mentioning the desalination plant.
The reverse osmosis plant, set to be the largest desalination facility in the world, is to be financed by a consortium of banks including Bank Leumi, Germany’s KfW and the European Investment Bank. In a statement, the Israeli government said that it will boost the country’s desalination capacity by 35% and lower water costs.
The facility is to be constructed in Sorek, in the centre of Israel.