Cyprus’s President Nicos Anastasiades recently thanked Israel’s national water company Mekorot for constructing a desalinization plant in the Cypriot city of Limassol. The plant is to help provide fresh drinking water to the island nation for the next 20 years.

 

Cyprus’s President Nicos Anastasiades recently inaugurated a 50 million Euro desalinization plant in the Cyprian city of Limassol that will be capable of providing local residents with between 40,000 and 60,000 cubic meters of water per day for the next 20 years. The plant was built by Mekorot, Israel’s National Water Company which will also manage daily operations. Despite the expensive construction costs, the operational turnover of the facility is expected to produce about 8 million Euros annually.

“In a challenging reality, in which many countries are facing an existing or expected shortage of water, the solutions which Mekorot has to offer are of great importance,” said Mekorot CEO Shimon Ben-Hamo. “Israel and Cyprus, two countries small in size but large in their vision – prove that a disadvantage can be made into an advantage thanks to the common desire for a fruitful and prosperous life.”

The Israeli government sees strong opportunity for Cypriot-Israeli economic relations. “We not only see in Cyprus a neighbor, but a partner to economic projects as well,” Israeli Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom said. “The new plant in Limassol and the plant in Larnaca are further evidence that Israel has great technological and human strength.” Shalom praised Mekorot for the company’s devotion “to providing solutions to friends in the region and across the globe,” which he said he views as a “commitment to present and future generations.”

Limassol is a port city located in Southern Cyprus, on the Greek controlled part of the island. Like Israel, Cyprus has an abundance of sea water, but has scarce fresh water sources. The launching ceremony for the desalinization plant included Mekorot CEO Shimon Ben-Hamo, as well as Minister Silvan Shalom, Cypriot Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis and the director of Cyprus Water Development Kyriacos Kyrou. In addition to Mekorot, the desalinization plant in Limassol was constructed with the partnership of two Cypriot companies, Logicom and Demetra. Mekorot, however, will posses 50 percent of the revenues earned from the desalinization plant.

The Cypriot government has announced that this desalination plant in Limassol is the fifth to be built on the small Mediterranean island. “The existing old desalination plants have been already upgraded while new plants have been constructed, leading to the increase of the total capacity of all our plants to approximately 220,000 cubic meters of water per day,” Cypriot Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said.

“The natural water resources are insufficient to cover the increasing water needs, thus, gradually we have adopted the policy of using non-conventional water resources to ensure independence from weather conditions and consequently adequate quantities of water for our country,” said Kouyialis. “It does not only significantly upgrade the living standards of the citizens of Cyprus, but also contributes to the further development of our agricultural and tourist industry.”

By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United With Israel

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