US-based Morgantiis understood to be preparing to start construction of the long-suspended Gaza regional water carrier by the end of 2005. US-based Montgomery WatsonHarzais the construction management consultant on the project and the US? Metcalf & Eddy is doing design work. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $66 million for the link, which will run from Beit Hanoun in north Gaza to Rafah in the south.

The project involves the construction of an integrated pipe and lateral connections with a total length of 137 kilometres in addition to 11 storage tanks and six pumping stations. Construction of the pipeline is expected to take two years. The carrier will have a minimum capacity of 60,000 cubic metres a day and connect to wells and reservoirs in Gaza, the Israeli water network and a planned desalination plant in central Gaza, from which it will draw the majority of its water supply.

The carrier and the desalination plant projects were suspended after Palestinian militants killed three Americans in Gaza in October 2003. Palestinian Water Authority officials will meet USAID in late September to discuss plans for the $70 million desalination plant. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed for the 55 million-cubic-metre-a-year facility.