Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Water Desalination Makes First Privatization Step | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Dammam-Saudi Arabia needs investments worth USD53.3 billion in the water sector till 2025, to cope with the population growth and the increased demand for desalinated water.

The Kingdom faces a heavy challenge by getting 60% of its water needs from the desalination of sea water, which compelled the National Transformation Program to set a strategic goal that includes the privatization of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation, to increase the investment’s efficiency in this sector.

The Kingdom has planned to expand the production capacities of the corporation with USD17.9 projects to implement new desalination plants and to expand the existent ones by 2020, to ensure the provision of the daily needs of potable water.

On the other hand, the corporation suffers for having old plants. Therefore, in 2000, the corporation has launched a wide program to rehabilitate the plants and expand their efficiency for 40 years and in five stages.

In this program, the corporation aimed to promote its plants and to produce more water with less fuel by considering the efficiency of fuel consumption as a main standard.

The domestic demand on water is rapidly growing with more than 8.8% yearly, and may double in the coming 20 years, leading to more built plants and more fuel consumption.

The Saline Water Conversion Corporation worked on attracting national and foreign investments to build and operate the plants. Around two million cubes of water are produced daily by the investments of the private sector that produce water and pump it to the cities through the corporation’s networks.

The plants of the public corporation produce 3.4 meters cube of desalinated water per day, and will jump to 4.4 million meter cube by 2017, when the Ras Al Khair plant, considered one of the biggest desalination projects in the world, reaches its full capacity.

It is worth mentioning that the privatization of the corporation was suggested in 2010 to be implemented according to the commercial bases.