Field-grown olive trees (cv. Chemlali) were used over two growing seasons to determine the effect of different saline water irrigation levels on fruit development characteristics, yield, and virgin olive oil (VOO) quality. The plants were irrigated with fresh water (FW; ECe = 1.2 dS m(-1)) and saline water (SS; ECe = 7.5 dS m(-1)). Fruit weight, olive, and oil content decreased under irrigation with saline water. Total oil contents were 27.85 and 25.7% fresh weight (fw) during 2005 in FW and SS irrigated plants, respectively. However, major phenolic compounds (tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, vanillic,...) and total phenol concentrations in VOO increased under saline water irrigation. In 2005, total phenol contents were 198 and 223 mg/kg of oil in FW and SS treatments, respectively. Furthermore, VOO from SS treated plants showed higher contents of oleic, linoleic, linolenic, and heptadecanoic acids than FW ones, and oil samples of both treatments were classified as "extra virgin".