oPt

In Brief: Israel objects to site of desalination plant

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TEL AVIV, 23 December 2009 (IRIN) - The construction of a desalination plant intended to supply some 50 million cubic metres of water annually to Palestinians living in the West Bank has again been stalled.

Sources at Israel's National Water Authority said building the plant near Hadera city, about 45km from Tel Aviv, might damage the coastal aquifer: "If a pipe breaks it will mean permanent damage to the aquifer," Avraham Tene, a Water Authority official responsible for desalination issues, told reporters.

Israeli demands that an alternative site be found might delay construction for years, analysts say. Israel is not funding the project or involved in its construction but is responsible for allocating the land for it, according to the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee.

Desalination is a major plank in Israeli water policy: the country already operates two major plants and is constructing more.

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