UAE and Saudi Arabia lead global water desalination projects
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UAE and Saudi Arabia lead global water desalination projects

UAE and Saudi Arabia lead global water desalination projects

Further investments of $4.3bn are expected into MENA’s desalination projects by 2022


According to the MENA Desalination Market report by Ventures Onsite, 48 per cent of global water desalination projects are taking place within the region. It also added that further investments of $4.3bn are expected into MENA’s desalination projects by 2022.

The report carried by official news agency WAM noted that Saudi Arabia is the largest desalination market in the world producing around four million cubic metres of desalinated water per day, which makes up 50 per cent of its water consumed.

It is responsible for about one-fifth of the global production of desalinated water and it is expected to receive investments of up to $80bn in new projects over the next decade.

Read: Saudi plans ‘solar dome’ desalination plants at Neom mega-city

These projects include the kingdom’s plans to construct “solar dome” desalination plants in Neom, a mega-city that it’s developing along the country’s northern Red Sea coast that will reportedly process drinking water more cheaply than conventional plants at 34 cents per cubic meter. Construction on the plant is expected to begin this month.

Read: Mubadala and ACWA Power reportedly building a $891m water desalination plant

The UAE is also pushing forward with its desalination projects. In September 2019 it was reported that Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power agreed to develop a Dhs3.27bn independent desalination plant in Taweelah, Abu Dhabi.

The Taweelah facility will open in Q4 2022 and is expected to have a capacity of 909,200 cubic metres of water per day, 44 per cent larger than the world’s current largest reverse osmosis plant.

Read: UAE entities sign deal to build largest desalination plant in the northern emirates

In Dubai, the Jebel Ali plant complex meanwhile will open in Q2 2020 with a capacity of 150,000 cubic metres of water per day. Also, the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority is building a desalination project with a daily 60 million imperial gallons capacity by 2022.

Last year, the head of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority reportedly said in an interview that it was seeking partners to build its first solar-powered desalination plant in Dubai which will use reverse osmosis technology and will have capacity to produce 120 million gallons a day of drinkable water by 2024.

In July 2019, it was also announced that construction would begin on a new desalination plant in Umm Al Quwain which will be the northern emirate’s largest plant. It is expected to be completed by 2021 and is expected to supply 150 imperial million gallons per day.

The report by Ventures Onsite said that GCC countries have the highest global water desalination capacity of 81 per cent, producing around 40 per cent of the total world desalinated water. Seawater desalination capacity of GCC countries is expected to grow by at least 37 per cent in the next five years.

The findings come ahead of the MENA Desalination Projects Conference, taking place from March 10-11 in Abu Dhabi that is expected to gather over 400 regional and international stakeholders from government, consulting, contracting and supply chain to discuss the future of the sector.


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