News-Europe/Middle East

Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, started up the Ashkelon Seawater Desalination Plant, located south of Tel Aviv in Israel.

Veolia Water begins production at Ashkelon RO desalination plant

Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, started up the Ashkelon Seawater Desalination Plant, located south of Tel Aviv in Israel. The plant is designed to produce 320,000 cubic meters of drinking water a day, making it the world’s largest desalination plant using reverse osmosis (RO) technology.

The plant, designed and built by Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies and its Israeli partners, is comprised of two parallel treatment units each of which has an annual production capacity of 54 million cubic meters. This volume of drinking water is enough to provide a population of 1.4 million for one year. The first stage has been producing drinking water since the end of September 2005, while the second stage became operational at the end of December 2005.

Drinking water produced by the Ashkelon plant is extremely high in quality. Gradually desalinated as it passes through 32 RO modules, the dissolved salt concentration at the plant exit is 30 mg/l, compared with 35,000 mg/l in the raw water pumped from the sea. The maximum concentration for water for human consumption is 400 mg/l. The Israeli government purchases all of the water produced at the Ashkelon facility at the competitive price of .50 euros per cubic meter. This product is used to supply drinking water to southern Israel.

Worldwide, only one percent of drinking water is produced by desalination even though almost one-quarter of the world’s population lives within less than 25 kilometers of the coast. Seawater could become one of the main alternative sources in the coming decades; its desalination is a priority area of research and development.

“The main areas of R&D for desalination by RO are the seawater’s pretreatment to limit membrane clogging and the effort to reduce energy consumption, which will further cut the cost of desalination - already reduced by a factor of four in the past decade - to help contribute to sustainable development through improved environmental outcomes,” Michel Dutang, Veolia Environnement’s head of research and development, explained.

Scottish Water accepts challenge to keep prices low

The Board of Scottish Water accepted the challenge of delivering a record-breaking improvement programme over the next four years within the limits laid down by the UK Water Industry Commission. This means that any increase in customer charges is likely to be kept below inflation between 2006 and 2010.

The £2.1 billion programme to deliver ministerial objectives between 2006 and 2010 will be the second largest in the UK. Its 2000+ projects across Scotland will improve drinking water quality for more than 1.5 million customers and clean up 530 kilometers of rivers and coastline.

Chair of Scottish Water Alan Alexander said: “Much has changed over recent months. A new approach has been developed with regulators, which has allowed us to revise our view of the overall costs of delivering the Ministerial objectives. We now accept the extremely tough challenge of delivering this record level of improvement within a funding limit, which will keep customer charges stable for four more years.”

For instance, Scottish Water, working with the Drinking Water Quality Regulator, originally estimated the cost major work needed at 270 water treatment works. Scottish Water and regulators now agree that the minister’s objectives can be achieved by carrying out significant improvements at 115 works. Improvements in water quality at other water treatment works will be achieved, in this period, through maintenance and operational enhancements.

Mott MacDonald leads Russian sustainability project

The UK-based consultancy Mott MacDonald is leading a river basin management scoping study in Russia as part of its support for Partners for Environmental Cooperation (PECE). PECE is a UK-based multi-stakeholder partnership, set up by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to tackle environmental and sustainability challenges in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.

Mott MacDonald's first project involves working with the Russian Institute of Integrated Use and Protection of Water Resources to clearly identify measures to improve the biodiversity in the Kundruchiya River in Southern Russia.

The study is identifying the measures needed to improve the environmental state of the river basin, reducing the level of water pollution entering the river system through point and diffuse sources, and providing sustainable water use for the river's numerous municipal, industrial and agricultural users. It is also identifying ways to build capacity in the use of new planning tools developed in the UK and the EU for analysis of river basin management issues, and develop through consultation, appropriate strategies for integrated river basin management.

Co-funded by DEFRA, Mott MacDonald and its Russian partners, the project will be completed in July 2006. For more information, visit and

Field Notes

Austria:Christ Water Technology AG, with headquarters in Mondsee, now operates independently from BWT Best Water Technology AG. In late 2005, BWT shareholders decided to split off the industrial and communal water technology activities provided by Christ - a move that enables Christ to focus on industrial water treatment plant engineering. The spin-off offers Christ more flexibility, helping it to open new markets, strategic alliances and acquisitions and capital increases. BWT activities are concentrated on water technology products for private households, trade and small industrial users. For more information, visit:

Germany:Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, signed a contract with the municipal authorities of Braunschweig in Lower Saxony to manage the city’s wastewater services for 30 years.

Veolia Environnement has provided water distribution, street lighting and management of the municipal heating, electricity and gas network since early 2005. Veolia Water will operate the almost 1,150-km-long network, and a treatment plant for an estimated 300,000 population equivalent. The company plans to hire 230 employees currently working for Stadtentwässerung Braunschweig Gmbh.

In Germany, Veolia Water manages water and wastewater services for the city of Berlin, and municipal services for the cities of Gera, Döbeln, Merseburg, Görlitz, Bad Münder, and more than 400 other districts, mostly in Saxony, Saxon-Anhalt and Lower Saxony.

Morocco:The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) approved a US$ 8 million loan to finance the development of a sewerage system and the third phase of a rural electrification project in Morocco. The first loan signed with the Office National de l’Eau Potable (ONEP) addresses environmental degradation with water pollution in urban areas. The loan will finance the rehabilitation of sewage treatment and related facilities in small and medium cities where existing sewerage systems are not functioning adequately.

Spain:The TEFSA-Group, an international designer and manufacturer of industrial dewatering and filtration equipment, formed a partnership with the US wastewater technology distributor Applied Process Equipment, Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.

Applied Process Equipment, through its wholly owned subsidiary TEFSA-USA, will be the exclusive agent for TEFSA-Group’s entire suite of high-performance liquid-solid separation equipment in the United States and Canada. Based in Barcelona, TEFSA produces more than 35 products.

Spain:The US company Emerson Industrial Automation’s mechanical power transmission division Kop-Flex® acquired Jaure, a coupling manufacturer based in Northern Spain. The integration of Jaure with Kop-Flex operations is expected to strengthen the Jaure brand presence on a global basis. Kop-Flex produces a range of couplings, including non-lubricated and reduced maintenance designs, and engineered couplings for high speed or turbomachinery applications.

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