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Project spotlight: Hamma desalination plant provides clean drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Algerian families

Hamma Water facility

A decade ago, Algeria’s capital city of Algiers was suffering a severe shortage of clean drinking water, resulting in strict rationing, stockpiling, as well as the consumption of dirty water by households and farms.

The solution, as with so many major development challenges requiring large investments in infrastructure, came in the form of a public-private partnership involving the Algerian government, a Massachusetts business, and OPIC;  and an innovative technology to make the seawater surrounding the capital city of Algiers drinkable.

Because the Algerian government recognized that the water shortages would only get worse as the population grew, it agreed to subsidize the cost of desalinating seawater.

The Algerian Energy Company entered a deal with Ionics Inc. of Watertown, Mass., in which Ionics agreed to build a water desalination plant and the state water authority took a minority stake in the plant and agreed to purchase the bulk of the clean water produced. In its first project in Algeria, OPIC provided a $200 million loan to Ionics.

The Hamma Water facility opened in 2008, providing clean water for about 350,000 families in and around Algiers. Learn more about the project in this profile.

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