(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s CTCI Corp. and partners will develop and operate a €508 million ($545 million) water-desalination plant as demand from chipmakers soars.

The island’s Water Resources Agency awarded the contract, which includes a 15-year operation and maintenance clause, to a group that also includes Hung Hua Construction Co. and France’s Suez SA, the companies said in a joint statement.

Taiwan’s vast semiconductor industry supports all manner of technologies from artificial intelligence to 5G networks. Yet chip manufacturing is highly water-intensive, and a chronic shortage has been exacerbated by climate change. When Taiwan faced a severe drought in 2021, officials shut off irrigation across swaths of farmland to redirect supplies to the industry, angering locals.

Designed to produce 100,000 cubic meters of drinking water a day, the Hsinchu desalination plant will benefit not only manufacturers but around 1.6 million inhabitants of Hsinchu City, according to the statement. Construction is expected to begin this year and be complete by 2028.

Taiwan’s water supply mainly comes from reservoirs fed by rainfall, but “climate change and extreme hydrological events have disrupted these patterns,” the companies said. “With the expansion of semiconductor factories in the Hsinchu Science Park, the demand for water is set to surge.”

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.