Saudi Arabia's National Water Co. commits to projects worth $800 million

Ahram Online, Thursday 16 Dec 2010

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to invest heavily over the next year in its water infrastructure

National Water Co. projects fiannced by the private sector worth $ 800 billion, to match the increased demand. (photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's state-owned utility, the National Water Co. (NWC) will undertake projects worth $800 millionin 2011, which will in turn be managed by the private sector, Saudi Gazette reported.

National Water “will focus on expansion plans and construction projects next year,” NWC’s Chief Executive Officer Loay Al-Mussalam said. He added that the projects will be funded by the ministry of finance.

Saudi Arabia wants the private sector to manage water networks to conserve resources and ensure consistent supplies, as population growth spurs demand. As part of their expansion plans, the National Water Co. will carry out a water rehabilitation project at the Manfonha Wastewater Treatment plant in Riyadh and build a reservoir in Jeddah, next year. Each project will cost $106.6 million.

“The Jeddah reservoir is important for sustaining the city’s water supply during the peak summer and religious tourism times of the year when an influx of visitors causes a reduction in the available supply,” Mussalam added. “We need a solution to charge tariffs to sustain further enhancements to the water network.”

Meanwhile, Saline Water Conversion Corp. SWCC, Saudi Arabia’s biggest desalinator, is awaiting final government approval to sell off its water treatment plants, a company official said as reported by Saudi Gazette. The decision is “with the Supreme Economic Council,” Ahmed Al-Mudaiheem, SWCC deputy governor for projects and technical affairs, said in an interview today. “We are waiting for the approval in order for us to move.”

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