TUNIS, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Tunisian Water Distribution Utility (SONEDE) will build three desalination plants in the southern region of Gabes, Tunisian Press Agency TAP reported on Monday.
The project which will be launched in 2011, will cost an estimated 14 million Tunisian dinars (about 11. 5 million U.S. dollars) and will supply Zarrat, Matmata and Menzel Habib with drinking water.
Earlier this month, SONEDE awarded a 70-million-euro ( around 89 U.S. dollars) contract for the building of a second reverse osmosis desalination plant on the island of Djerba to the Tunisian- Spanish Group Princesse Befesa. The plant will supply 250,000 people and is expected to be the country's largest desalination facility.
The water utility company which operates 4 plants in southern Tunisia has also launched an international tender for other brackish water and desalination plants in the southern areas of Medenine, Tozeur, Gafsa, Sidi Bouzid, Gabes and Kebili.
About 86 percent of Tunisia's fresh water resources are situated in north of the country. In order to meet the growing demands of the population in the drier, arid and semi arid southern regions, the government has set up a plan to develop unconventional resources by reusing waste water and desalinating seawater and brackish water.
The country hopes to double its desalination capacity to 200, 000 cubic meters per day by 2014 against 103,000 cubic meters currently.