Israeli Finance Minister Silvan Shalom has approved an option to double the amount of desalinated water at a plant to be built on the Mediterranean coast to 100 million cubic meters a year, the ministry said on Sunday.
The desalination project, which will produce water at a price of 47 cents per cubic meter, was a crucial step in solving the country's water shortage, Shalom said in a statement.
The decision will cost the government an extra $90 - $100 million, similar to the amount already invested, with the initial plant to come on stream at the end of next year. The second phase of the plant will start operating eight months later.
Israel, like many other countries in the region, faces severe water shortage problems.