The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) has approved up to US$200mn in financing for a desalination project in Algeria that will supply urgently needed potable water to 25% of its capital city’s population.

Opic will provide a loan to Hamma Water Desalination SpA, sponsored by Ionics Inc, for the construction and operation of a reverse osmosis seawater desalination facility that will deliver 200,000 cubic metres of potable water daily to Algiers through a joint venture with the state-owned Algerian Energy Company. The project will establish the first private reverse osmosis potable water desalination plant in Algeria.

Opic president and CEO Peter Watson says the project would help Algiers meet an urgent need for potable water – household consumption in the city is approximately 15 gallons per day, about one-seventh that of average US consumption, and half of the city receives water only one out of every three days – and support the Algerian government’s effort to attract private capital to water infrastructure projects.

“The Algerian government has prioritised the development of reliable and renewable sources of potable water, due to severe shortages and the depletion of limited existing resources,” Watson says. “Opic is pleased to work with a US company in developing Algeria’s water infrastructure through a project that will enable distribution of potable water to a higher proportion of the greater Algiers population on a more frequent and reliable basis.”