A look at the lat­est trends in the GCC wa­ter sec­tor

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The GCC re­gion has over the past few years adopted a strat­egy that aims to ex­pand its to­tal sea­wa­ter de­sali­na­tion ca­pac­ity by nearly 40% by 2020 in an ef­fort to meet the rapidly in­creas­ing de­mand for potable wa­ter in the re­gion. While 5% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion re­sides in the Mid­dle East and North Africa, the re­gion has less than 1% of the world’s avail­able wa­ter sup­ply but is home to the high­est con­sumers of wa­ter in the world. In United Arab Emi­rates (UAE) alone, daily per capita wa­ter con­sump­tion av­er­ages 500 litres, about 82% above the global av­er­age. GCC gov­ern­ments along with wa­ter so­lu­tions providers and wa­ter re­searchers are now in­sti­gat­ing a bal­ance be­tween in­no­va­tion and reg­u­la­tion to ad­dress a loom­ing wa­ter cri­sis in the re­gion. 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. With the de­ple­tion of ground­wa­ter, de­sali­na­tion has over the years be­come the pri­mary source of potable wa­ter in GCC coun­tries such as UAE and Saudi Ara­bia, which have ex­pe­ri­enced rapid rises in de­mand for wa­ter on the back of strong eco­nomic and pop­u­la­tion growth. Cur­rently, de­mand for potable wa­ter in the re­gion is about 3,300MIGD, and is ex­pected to grow to about 5,200MIGD by 2020. While cur­rent re­serve mar­gins be­tween sup­ply and de­mand ap­pear to be at com­fort­able lev­els, at coun­try and lo­cal net­work lev­els, the sup­ply-de­mand gaps are much smaller. For ex­am­ple, while UAE has en­joyed com­fort­able re­serve mar­gins in re­cent years, Saudi Ara­bia, Oman and Kuwait have faced real chal­lenges meet­ing de­mand, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer months. Age­ing plants also do not al­ways op­er­ate at full de­sign ca­pac­ity, fur­ther re­duc­ing the the­o­ret­i­cal to­tal out­put. Fo­cus of the wa­ter sec­tor in the re­gion is shift­ing to­wards sus­tain­able prac­tices, waste­water treat­ment and recycling, with sev­eral util­i­ties and wa­ter agen­cies an­nounc­ing no­tice­able projects in­di­cat­ing start of a tech­no­log­i­cal turn­around for the re­gion. Gov­ern­ments in the GCC have al­lo­cated ap­prox­i­mately $100bn to­wards im­ple­ment­ing bet­ter wa­ter tech­nolo­gies and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient de­sali­na­tion. 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 and a sound fi­nan­cial pro­file. In­vest­ments in the wa­ter sec­tor have been on the rise over the past few months, with sev­eral projects un­der ex­e­cu­tion or bid­ding/ten­der­ing stage. These projects are cov­er­ing all seg­ments of the wa­ter sec­tor, in­clud­ing de­sali­na­tion, in­de­pen­dent wa­ter and power projects (IWPP), wa­ter trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion, re­pair and re­place­ment of net­works, waste­water treat­ment and pro­duced wa­ter treat­ment. Saudi Ara­bia an­nounced in Septem­ber plans to build two de­sali­na­tion plants, cost­ing a to­tal of $1.06bn (SR4bn), and these will be built in the cities of Al-Kho­bar and Jubail in the Eastern Prov­ince. The plants will con­trib­ute to pump­ing of more than one mil­lion ad­di­tional cu­bic me­ters of wa­ter daily to var­i­ous cities in the Eastern Prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to Ab­du­rah­man AlFadli, Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment, Wa­ter and Agri­cul­ture and also chair­man of the board of Saline Wa­ter Con­ver­sion Cor­po­ra­tion (SWCC) The projects will be im­ple­mented by tak­ing ad­van­tage of highly ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies and world­class stan­dards so as to im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of pro­duc­tion and bring­ing down op­er­a­tional costs. The de­sali­na­tion projects that are ex­pected to go on stream by the mid­dle of 2021 have al­ready been ap­proved by the Saudi King, Sal­man bin Ab­du­laziz Al Saud as part of wide ef­forts to im­prove the wa­ter pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion in­fra­struc­ture in Saudi Ara­bia. Also six pro­pos­als have been sub­mit­ted for Saudi Ara­bia’s Shuqaiq in­de­pen­dent wa­ter project (IWP), ac­cord­ing to the Wa­ter & Elec­tric­ity Com­pany (WEC), which re­ceived the bids. The IWP will have a ca­pac­ity of 450,000 cu­bic me­tres a day (cm/d). The groups that sub­mit­ted pro­pos­als are: Ve­o­lia (France) / Marafiq (lo­cal) / Alamwal al-Khalee­jiah al­thaniya (lo­cal), FCC Aqualia (Spain) / Nesma (lo­cal) / Haaco (lo­cal), and Marubeni Cor­po­ra­tion ( Ja­pan) / Ac­ciona Agua (Spain) / Ab­dul Latif Jameel (lo­cal) / Bahr Rawafid (lo­cal). Oth­ers are Engie (France) / Mit­subishi Cor­po­ra­tion ( Ja­pan) / SSEM (lo­cal) / Metito (lo­cal)Acwa Power (lo­cal) / Al-Bab­tain Con­tract­ing (lo­cal) and Co­bra (Spain) / Oras­com (Egypt) / Al-Blagha In­vest­ment (lo­cal) In Novem­ber, Dubai Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Au­thor­ity (DEWA) awarded a con­tract worth $78.3mn to con­struct a wa­ter reser­voir in Al Nakhali. This will hold 120 mil­lion gal­lons of de­sali­nated wa­ter to in­crease Dubai’s stor­age ca­pac­ity to 1,010 mil­lion gal­lons. The project in­cludes the con­struc­tion of two rec­tan­gu­lar, re­in­forced, con­crete 60-mil­lion-gal­lon reser­voirs. The project in­cludes the con­struc­tion of two rec­tan­gu­lar, re­in­forced, con­crete 60-mil­lion-gal­lon reser­voirs. Work is ex­pected to pro­ceed ac­cord­ing to project sched­ules, and the con­struc­tion and oper­a­tion of the reser­voir is ex­pected to be com­plete within 24 months. Also in Novem­ber, the Fed­eral Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Au­thor­ity (FEWA) and MDC Power Hold­ing Com­pany, an en­tity owned by Mubadala In­vest­ment Com­pany, signed an agree­ment and formed a con­sor­tium to co-de­velop de­sali­na­tion plants in the North­ern Emi­rates. The man­date is to de­velop three de­sali­na­tion plants to be lo­cated in the North­ern Emi­rates for a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 135 mil­lion im­pe­rial gal­lons per day (MIGD), which will be de­vel­oped in two phases in Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, and Fu­jairah. The first phase of the project is sched­uled to be com­pleted by 2021. In Au­gust, Oman Power and Wa­ter Pro­cure­ment Com­pany (OPWP) ini­ti­ated the per-qual­i­fi­ca­tion process for de­vel­op­ers to set-up two new in­de­pen­dent wa­ter projects (IWPs) in Al Bati­nah re­gion. The two pro­posed wa­ter de­sali­na­tion plants will have a com­bined ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 250,000 cu­bic me­ters of wa­ter per day and will be lo­cated at North Al Bati­nah and Barka. OPWP is plan­ning to pro­cure two new ca­pac­i­ties (100,000 and 150,000 cu­bic me­ters per day) which are lo­cated in Al Bati­nah re­gion (Barka and North Al Bati­nah, re­spec­tively). The IWPs are to be de­vel­oped as a pri­vate sec­tor project by an ap­pro­pri­ately qual­i­fied de­vel­oper. In July, Ac­ciona Agua an­nounced that it had won a $232mn con­tract to de­sign and build Al Kho­bar de­sali­na­tion plant on Saudi Ara­bia’s east coast.

The en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment, and con­struc­tion (EPC) con­tract is for 210,000 m3/d re­verse os­mo­sis (RO) ca­pac­ity on the Gulf coast, 400 kilo­me­tres east of Riyadh. The plant will sup­ply de­sali­nated wa­ter to Saudi Ara­bia’s Saline Wa­ter Con­ver­sion Cor­po­ra­tion (SWCC) for mu­nic­i­pal use, and to oil gi­ant Saudi Aramco. The project is sched­uled to com­plete by end of 2020. The award is the first given by SWCC to a Span­ish firm. In 2010, Marafiq awarded Ac­ciona Agua a con­tract to de­sign, build and com­mis­sion Al Jubail sea­wa­ter RO de­sali­na­tion plant. The UAE’s Fed­eral Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Au­thor­ity (FEWA) se­lected a con­sor­tium led by ACWA Power and Tec­ton En­gi­neer­ing and Con­struc­tion in June for a sea wa­ter re­verse os­mo­sis (SWRO) de­sali­na­tion project in Umm Al Quwain. Once com­pleted, the plant in Umm Al Quwain is ex­pected to process about 45mn gal­lons of sea­wa­ter a day into potable wa­ter. This is the first FEWA de­sali­na­tion plant in co-oper­a­tion with the pri­vate sec­tor and the au­thor­ity in­tends to com­mence three other de­sali­na­tion plants fol­low­ing the same model, which will be ten­dered be­fore the end of the cur­rent year, ac­cord­ing to said Mo­hammed Salah, di­rec­tor gen­eral, FEWA. The Abu Dhabi Depart­ment of En­ergy un­veiled in Novem­ber the seven con­sor­tia bid­ding for Taweela de­sali­na­tion plant mega-project, with the low­est price com­ing from ACWA Power at $0.49 per cube. Acwa Power of Saudi Ara­bia, along with its part­ner Aben­goa, placed the low­est bid us­ing the higher elec­tric­ity tar­iff at AED8.26 ($2.25) per 1,000 gal­lons (4.55 m3); or $0.49 per cube. The next best bid un­der that elec­tric­ity price was 4 per­cent higher from part­ners Engie and Marubeni at AED8.26 per TIG. In Novem­ber, Saudi Ara­bia is build­ing a so­lar-pow­ered de­sali­na­tion plant us­ing ad­sorp­tion tech­nol­ogy. It is the first in­dus­trial ap­pli­ca­tion model that uses de­sali­na­tion ad­sorp­tion tech­nol­ogy. A sym­bolic foun­da­tion stone for the 5,200 m3/d de­sali­na­tion fa­cil­ity, which is to be lo­cated on the Red Sea coast at Yanbu, was laid by Saudi leader King Sal­man dur­ing a visit to King Ab­du­laziz City for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (KACST), in Riyadh, on 5 Novem­ber 2018. Mus­cat Wa­ter, a joint ven­ture be­tween Al Su­laimi Group Hold­ing and AquaSwiss AG, has com­pleted the con­struc­tion of its wa­ter de­sali­na­tion plant in Qu­rayyat. The plant will pro­duce 8,000m3 of de­sali­nated wa­ter per day for sup­ply­ing potable wa­ter to Qu­rayyat and nearby vil­lages. Mus­cat Wa­ter aims to pro­duce potable wa­ter at very com­pet­i­tive prices through unique dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing tech­nolo­gies, to as­sure a high lo­cal Omani con­tent, and to de­velop sig­nif­i­cant in–coun­try-value through the de­ploy­ment of Omani man­power and lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties in its projects. French com­pany Engie an­nounced that the Mirfa In­de­pen­dent Wa­ter and Power Plant (IWPP)

in Abu Dhabi was now into full com­mer­cial oper­a­tion. The plant adds 1,600MW of power and 52.5 mil­lion gal­lons (around 200,000 m3) per day (MIGD) of sea­wa­ter de­sali­na­tion ca­pac­ity. The con­struc­tion of the $1.5bn IWPP, lo­cated 160 kilo­me­tres away from Abu Dhabi, was ini­ti­ated in Oc­to­ber 2014. It is owned by ENGIE (20%), Abu Dhabi Wa­ter and Elec­tric­ity Au­thor­ity (ADWEA) (60%) and Abu Dhabi Fi­nan­cial Group (20%). De­vel­oped un­der a full turn-key en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment and con­struc­tion con­tract (EPC), the project in­te­grates the ac­qui­si­tion of an ex­ist­ing 22.5 MIGD (85,000 m3 per day) wa­ter pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties and as­so­ci­ated in­fra­struc­ture along with the ac­qui­si­tion, re­fur­bish­ment, erec­tion and com­mis­sion­ing of four GE 9E gas tur­bines with a com­bined net ca­pac­ity of 360MW ac­quired from the Al Mirfa Power Com­pany. The UAE’s Fed­eral Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Au­thor­ity (FEWA) said it would in­crease ca­pac­ity of Ghalilah de­sali­na­tion plant. The Ghalilah fa­cil­ity, in Ras al Khaimah, whose orig­i­nal project was awarded to Aquat­ech in 2011, will in­crease ca­pac­ity from 15 to 45 mil­lion im­pe­rial gal­lons a day (68,000 to 205,000 m3/d). FEWA, which sup­plies wa­ter and elec­tric­ity to the north­ern emi­rates Aj­man, Fu­jairah, Ras al Khaimah, and Umm al Quwain, also plans to build a 45 mil­lion gal­lons a day (205,000 m3/d) sea­wa­ter re­verse os­mo­sis plant in the north of Umm al Quwain in what is an­tic­i­pated to be the first pri­vately fi­nanced project in UAE. Thir­teen con­sor­tia have re­port­edly pre­qual­i­fied. A fur­ther de­sali­na­tion plant project pro­posed for Al-Zawra, Aj­man, will have ca­pac­ity of 30 mil­lion gal­lons a day (136,000 m3/d). FEWA may con­sider ex­port­ing wa­ter ow­ing to “the ef­fi­ciency of the new plants”. Re­verse Os­mo­sis (RO) in de­sali­na­tion con­tin­ues to gain promi­nence in the re­gion as op­posed to ther­mal tech­nol­ogy. Its re­li­a­bil­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity and qual­ity are there­fore of crit­i­cal im­por­tance to wa­ter con­sumers and of equal con­cern to wa­ter sup­pli­ers. Since the in­tro­duc­tion of RO tech­nol­ogy, the num­ber of mem­brane-based de­sali­na­tion plants has in­creased sharply, and these cur­rently ac­count for 73% of the over­all global in­stalled ca­pac­ity of 88.6 mil­lion m3/day from 18,983 plants. 27% of plants world­wide still rely on ther­mal tech­nol­ogy, with 73% us­ing mul­ti­stage flash (MSF) and 27% re­ly­ing on multi-ef­fect dis­til­la­tion (MED). The RO process pu­ri­fies wa­ter by forc­ing it through a semiper­me­able mem­brane, which re­tains most of the or­ganic and in­or­ganic species present. Pu­ri­fied wa­ter is col­lected as ‘per­me­ate’ while the ‘con­cen­trate’ part, or brine, is dis­carded. Dow Wa­ter’s fac­tory in Jubail City, Saudi Ara­bia, un­der­pins the com­pany’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to tap into the grow­ing de­mand for tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions in the GCC. A con­sid­er­able quan­tity of Filmtech re­verse os­mo­sis (RO) el­e­ments are al­ready be­ing shipped from the fac­tory since it opened last year, the first such plant to be built by Dow Wa­ter and Process So­lu­tions (DW&PS) out­side of the US where it is head­quar­tered. The Filmtech RO el­e­ments from the new plant are an es­sen­tial prod­uct for sea­wa­ter and brack­ish wa­ter de­sali­na­tion, as well as for wa­ter re­use to pro­vide potable, non-potable and in­dus­trial wa­ter. Dow Wa­ter has launched the In­te­graFlux Ul­trafil­tra­tion (UF) mod­ule which fea­tures XP Fi­bre, a high-per­for­mance, break­through fi­bre that de­liv­ers im­proved qual­ity of wa­ter treat­ment at a lower cost. Some of the most prom­i­nent RO tech­nolo­gies used in the re­gion in­clude DOW FILMTEC SEAMAXX and DOW FILMTEC ECO The wide adop­tion of re­new­able

en­ergy in the GCC is now be­gin­ning to find its way into the de­sali­na­tion space amidst grow­ing calls for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency in wa­ter pro­duc­tion. The Abu Dhabi Fu­ture En­ergy Com­pany, Mas­dar, an­nounced last year that it had started test­ing three sys­tems to cap­ture so­lar heat as part of its Re­new­able En­ergy De­sali­na­tion Pro­gramme, to de­velop wa­ter de­sali­na­tion sta­tions with greater en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and com­mer­cial ad­van­tage. The three sys­tems were in­stalled at the site of the Mas­dar Re­new­able En­ergy De­sali­na­tion Pro­gramme in Ghan­toot. Eval­u­ated with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Im­pe­rial En­ergy, EMSOL In­no­va­tions and GREENone Tec, the sys­tems work by cap­tur­ing the sun’s heat to strengthen the process of de­sali­nat­ing sea wa­ter, as an al­ter­na­tive to burn­ing nat­u­ral gas. Wind power has also emerged as an­other re­new­able en­ergy for al­ter­na­tive to power de­sali­na­tion plants in UAE. A new study by Mas­dar In­sti­tute shows that the cost of pro­duc­ing wa­ter for the UAE’s nat­u­ral wa­ter stor­age struc­tures, and the car­bon diox­ide emis­sions as­so­ci­ated with the process, could be re­duced us­ing wind power for the de­sali­na­tion. Be­cause wind speeds in the UAE are low, the univer­sity part­nered in the project with Syn­lift In­dus­trial Prod­ucts of Ger­many, which pro­vides so­lu­tions for low-wind sites. Their study con­cluded that the cost of pro­duc­ing 1,000 litres of wa­ter would ar­rive at be­tween $1.6 (EUR 1.43) and $2.1. This is slightly be­low the cost of pro­duc­ing fresh­wa­ter via ther­malpow­ered de­sali­na­tion, be­fore adding avoided emis­sions to the cal­cu­la­tion. The use of other re­new­able en­ergy sources, such as nu­clear and geo­ther­mal en­ergy, to sup­ply wa­ter in Abu Dhabi has also been in­ves­ti­gated. The Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion na­tional nu­clear cor­po­ra­tion, Rosatom, has stated that its sub­sidiary,

Atomen­er­go­mash (AEM), pos­sesses a gen­er­alised so­lu­tion for the in­te­gra­tion of a de­sali­na­tion fa­cil­ity into a nu­clear power plant (NPP) based on the VVER-1000 or VVER-1200 re­ac­tors. A clas­sic ex­am­ple of this type of in­te­gra­tion are the co-gen­er­a­tion units that have been op­er­at­ing at Rus­sian NPPs for many years, and are used to heat pop­u­la­tion cen­tres in the vicin­ity. Ac­cord­ing to Rosatom, cal­cu­la­tions show that if an NPP is con­structed with a re­ac­tor that has a ca­pac­ity of 1,200MW 8 % of the to­tal steam flow could be di­rected for de­sali­na­tion, which cor­re­sponds to a pro­duc­tiv­ity for the MED-fa­cil­ity of 170 thou­sand m3/d. The in­te­gra­tion of the two types of ac­tiv­i­ties needs to be done at the de­sign stage, and re­sults in costs sav­ings thanks to the joint ef­fec­tive use of re­sources (steam, hy­draulic struc­tures, sup­port­ing sys­tems) and also cre­ates syn­ergy. Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments in smart wa­ter net­works (SWNs) are help­ing GCC wa­ter util­ity op­er­a­tors boost ef­fi­ciency and proac­tively man­age and con­trol dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems. The prin­ci­pal ob­jec­tive of im­ple­ment­ing such a net­work is to im­prove per­for­mance by op­ti­mis­ing sys­tem op­er­a­tions, rather than re­ly­ing solely on cap­i­tal im­prove­ments. Ge­o­graphic in­for­ma­tion sys­tem (GIS) tech­nol­ogy, su­per­vi­sory con­trol and data ac­qui­si­tion (SCADA) sys­tems, smart me­ters, and ad­vanced me­ter­ing in­fra­struc­ture (AMI) are help­ing op­er­a­tors lo­cate util­ity as­sets, mon­i­tor wa­ter us­age and sys­tem op­er­a­tions, track trends, and re­motely con­trol pumps and strate­gic valves. Util­i­ties have signed lu­cra­tive deals with so­lu­tions providers to in­te­grate smart so­lu­tions for the ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of wa­ter as­sets as well as en­abling op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency across the value chain. Shar­jah Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter Au­thor­ity (SEWA) has so far in­stalled 18,000 Smart Me­ters which can sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­ute to en­sure the ac­cu­racy of the me­ter read­ings and iden­tify the ac­tual amount of elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion and aims to re­place all con­ven­tional me­ters in its strate­gic plan for 2020. To em­pha­sise the need for in­no­va­tion, SEWA has signed long term part­ner­ship agree­ments with glob­ally recog­nised brands such as Siemens, ABB, GE, Rolls Royce and IBM to am­plify the use of smart tech­nolo­gies across var­i­ous op­er­a­tions in the hope to en­hance ser­vice de­liv­ery. There are more wa­ter util­i­ties en­thu­si­as­ti­cally wad­ing into the world of smart leak pre­ven­tion since leak con­trol pro­grammes have a clear pay­back. The abil­ity to cap­ture lost and un­billed wa­ter in­creases rev­enue and re­duces wa­ter pro­duc­tion costs for cities. Ox­ford Flow, a de­vel­oper of flow con­trol tech­nolo­gies, signed its first deal in the GCC with SEWA. The Ox­ford Univer­sity spin-out will be tri­alling its di­aphragm-free Pres­sure Re­duc­ing Valve (PRV) in the wa­ter net­work in the emi­rate of Shar­jah. In Novem­ber, Ger­many’s Diehl Me­ter­ing and Saudi Ara­bia’s Abunayyan Hold­ing signed a strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment that will in­clude build­ing a state-of-the-art fi­nal assem­bly line in Saudi Ara­bia for ul­tra­sonic wa­ter me­ter tech­nol­ogy. Through a part­ner­ship that started in 2018, Diehl Me­ter­ing has been able to com­pre­hen­sively im­ple­ment Fixed Net­work projects in Saudi Ara­bia – over 700.000 HY­DRUS ul­tra­sonic wa­ter me­ters have now been in­stalled in the coun­try. Saudi Ara­bia aims to in­stall about 12 mil­lion smart me­ters by 2025. CESI, a tech­ni­cal con­sult­ing and en­gi­neer­ing com­pany head­quar­tered in Italy was re­cently awarded the sec­ond phase of the Au­to­mated Me­ter Read­ing (AMR) tech­nol­ogy im­ple­men­ta­tion project by Nama Group (NG) Oman. The ob­jec­tive of the AMR roll­out is to im­ple­ment a cen­tral sys­tem in or­der to ob­tain cus­tomer read­ings re­motely. Xylem, a lead­ing global wa­ter tech­nol­ogy com­pany, an­nounced last year the open­ing of a new of­fice in Riyadh, Saudi Ara­bia. The new of­fice is part of Xylem’s $35mn in­vest­ment in the Mid­dle East North Africa re­gion, which in­cludes ad­di­tional

re­sources to help pro­vide lo­calised prod­ucts, ser­vices and ca­pa­bil­i­ties in key mar­kets through­out the re­gion. More than 70% of waste­water is reused across the GCC, and now these coun­tries are aim­ing for 100% re­use of treated sewage ef­flu­ent within the next few years. The idea is to guar­an­tee proper treat­ment so that sea­wa­ter and waste­water can be reused in nor­mal ap­pli­ca­tions such as drinking wa­ter, agri­cul­ture, land­scape ir­ri­gation and in­dus­trial pro­cesses, en­abling com­mu­ni­ties and coun­tries to stretch lim­ited fresh­wa­ter sup­plies. Cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture on ad­vanced wa­ter re­use has been grow­ing at an an­nual rate of 19.5% as the need to be­come ef­fi­cient rises up on the agen­das of most gov­ern­ments and busi­nesses. Over $40bn of gov­ern­ment in­vest­ments are slated for new treat­ment and col­lec­tion sys­tems in the re­gion over the next seven years. Work on dou­bling the ca­pac­ity of Jebel Ali Sewage Treat­ment Plant in the UAE is in full swing and 17% of the work in phase 2 has been com­pleted since the start of ex­pan­sion in May. The ex­pan­sion work at a cost of $353.9mn will in­crease the ca­pac­ity of Jebel Ali Sewage Treat­ment Plant from 375,000 m3 / day to 675,000 m3/day. The project con­sists of 6 phases in two main path­ways, the liq­uid waste treat­ment process and solid waste treat­ment process. It has a plant for the pro­duc­tion of com­post from solid waste which is sold to the pub­lic, which adds eco­nomic value to the project. The treated wa­ter is pumped again through a pipe­line net­work cov­er­ing the whole of the Emi­rate of Dubai for use in ir­ri­gation of pub­lic parks and is sold to de­vel­op­ers and farm own­ers, which also adds eco­nomic value to the project. As wa­ter se­cu­rity con­cerns rise, the Pub­lic Au­thor­ity of Elec­tric­ity and Wa­ter in Oman said it was plan­ning to build strate­gic wa­ter stor­age reser­voirs in Mus­cat in or­der to over­come a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion if de­sali­na­tion plants are dis­rupted. Saudi Ara­bia awarded a project to build 17 strate­gic wa­ter reser­voirs. The reser­voirs, lo­cated in Makkah’s Al Sharay and Taif ’s Al-Hada, will each have a ca­pac­ity of 170,000 cu­bic me­tres, with 2.9 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of potable. They are sched­uled to be com­pleted in three years. Sim­i­lar projects are tak­ing place near other cities in­clud­ing Jed­dah, where the first phase of a 4 mil­lion­cu­bic-me­tre reser­voir was com­pleted re­cently. Shar­jah Elec­tric­ity & Wa­ter Au­thor­ity (SEWA) and Mein­hardt Sin­ga­pore have iden­ti­fied six ini­tia­tives to mod­ernise the wa­ter stor­age in­fra­struc­ture in Shar­jah. These in­clude plan­ning and en­gi­neer­ing de­sign con­sul­tancy ser­vices for the strate­gic wa­ter stor­age reser­voirs for wa­ter cri­sis man­age­ment and ca­pac­ity build­ing for SEWA Op­ti­mism re­mains high in the wa­ter sec­tor. Over the next months, the GCC is ex­pected to step up its in­vest­ments on wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture as de­mand reaches un­prece­dented lev­els. But great em­pha­sis is likely to be placed on the in­te­gra­tion of smart so­lu­tions into wa­ter man­age­ment sys­tems to guar­an­tee op­er­a­tional and as­set op­ti­mi­sa­tion..

Gov­ern­ments in the GCC have al­lo­cated ap­prox­i­mately $100bn to­wards im­ple­ment­ing bet­ter wa­ter tech­nolo­gies and en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient de­sali­na­tion

The wide adop­tion of re­new­able en­ergy in the GCC is now be­gin­ning to find its way into the de­sali­na­tion space amidst grow­ing calls for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency in wa­ter pro­duc­tion

Since the in­tro­duc­tion of RO tech­nol­ogy, the num­ber of mem­brane-based de­sali­na­tion plants has in­creased sharply, and these cur­rently ac­count for 73% of the over­all global in­stalled ca­pac­ity of 88.6 mil­lion m3/day from 18,983 plants

De­spite a gen­eral slow­down in new in­fra­struc­ture projects across the GCC, op­ti­mism re­mains high in the wa­ter sec­tor as de­mand reaches un­prece­dented lev­els

Oman said it was plan­ning to build strate­gic wa­ter stor­age reser­voirs in Mus­cat in or­der to over­come a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion if de­sali­na­tion plants are dis­rupted

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