KfW signs Djerba desalination loan agreement in Tunisia

Tunisia’s Société Nationale d’Exploitation et de Distribution des Eaux (SONEDE) signed an agreement on 22 August 2013 with the German development bank KfW for a loan of around € 60 million for the Djerba seawater desalination plant.

The plant on the island of Djerba will have a capacity of 50,000 m³/d expandable to 75,000 m³/d and is the first to be developed and utilised by SONEDE.

The utility says that the use of seawater desalination is an additional source for coastal areas, given the scarcity of renewable freshwater resources available (460 m³/year per capita in Tunisia in 2011). Similarly, desalination can limit the overexploitation of groundwater within the country, thereby improving the water balance and contributing to a better integrated resource management.

The minister of development and international cooperation, Lamine Doghri, highlighted the importance of this project, which will benefit some 200,000 residents and will improve the quality of drinking water in the region.

He also expressed the satisfaction of the Tunisian authorities with the exemplary quality of cooperation between Tunisia and Germany, while Wolfgang Reuss, director of the Department of North Africa & Middle East for KfW stressed the bank’s commitment to support SONEDE in its efforts to be at the forefront of the development of the desalination sector.