Quench­ing the thirst

Utilities Middle East - - CONTENTS - Baset As­aba, Ed­i­tor

The GCC’s cur­rent sea­wa­ter de­sali­na­tion ca­pac­ity of ap­prox­i­mately 4,000 mil­lion im­pe­rial gal­lons a day (MIGD) is set to in­crease to more than 5,500MIGD over the next 5 years as the GCC states in­vest heav­ily in in­creas­ing potable wa­ter sup­ply amid grow­ing de­mand.

Re­gional govern­ments are ex­pected to scale up bud­get al­lo­ca­tion on im­ple­ment­ing bet­ter wa­ter tech­nolo­gies and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient de­sali­na­tion. Planned re­verse os­mo­sis plant ca­pac­i­ties are ex­pected to in­crease ev­ery quar­ter as a re­sult.

GCC coun­tries are also tak­ing req­ui­site steps to over­come known chal­lenges of stream­lin­ing pub­lic-pri­vate par­tic­i­pa­tion (PPP), util­i­ties in debt, im­prov­ing ac­count­abil­ity and in­vest­ment frame­work.

The wa­ter sec­tor in the re­gion will shift their fo­cus to­wards sus­tain­able prac­tices, waste­water treat­ment and re­cy­cling, with sev­eral util­i­ties and wa­ter agen­cies de­vel­op­ing mod­ern projects that in­di­cate a tech­no­log­i­cal turn­around for the re­gion.

Frost & Sul­li­van re­search re­veals that ur­ban wa­ter sup­ply in Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE is al­ready above 90% cov­er­age, with the ma­jor­ity of this wa­ter (up to 80%) sourced through de­sali­na­tion. In the next cou­ple of years, it is an­tic­i­pated that wa­ter sup­ply in ur­ban re­gions will reach 100% cov­er­age .

Sus­tain­abil­ity drives have also been seen among na­tional wa­ter com­pa­nies. An ex­am­ple is Haya Wa­ter in Oman is re­duc­ing meth­ane emis­sions by aer­o­bi­cally com­post­ing sewage sludge. The end prod­ucts can be re-used ef­fi­ciently by the agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity as sewage biosolids or com­post.

In the medium to long-term, tech­nol­ogy adop­tion/ up­grade and com­pelling sus­tain­abil­ity tar­gets, to­gether, will help the GCC re­duce the de­mand-sup­ply gap and aid preser­va­tion of re­sources for fu­ture.

Util­i­ties such as DEWA (Dubai elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Sup­ply), are lead­ing by ex­am­ple with Moody’s In­vestors Ser­vices up­grad­ing the com­pany’s rat­ing to in­vest­ment grade. This has been a re­sult of op­er­a­tional im­prove­ments.

DEWA is or­gan­is­ing the 20th Wa­ter, En­ergy, Tech­nol­ogy, and En­vi­ron­ment Ex­hi­bi­tion (WETEX) from 23-25 Oc­to­ber to drive sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices.

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