Saudi Arabia plans to build nine desalination plants for more than SR2 billion ($530 million) on the Red Sea coast, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli said on Sunday.
The plants will have capacity of 240,000 cubic meters (c.m.) of water per day and will be completed in less than 18 months, Al-Fadhli wrote in a Twitter post.
The project, which the minister said was ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in a royal decree, will help government-owned Saudi Saline Water Conversion Corp (SWCC) raise production efficiency and cut operating and capital costs, Fadhli added.
The Kingdom is the largest producer of desalinated water in the world.
According to SWCC, the Kingdom has raised its desalinated water production to five million cubic meters per day (m3/d) at the end of 2017.
Desalinated water output was raised by 1 million m3 per day from 4 million m3/d over the last year, equivalent to the output of a new SR10 billion plant, according to SWCC’s official twitter account.
Through the Vision 2030, the government intends to provide better opportunities for partnerships with the private sector by increasing the percentage of desalinated water production through strategic partners.
Last year, SWCC announced plans to invest about $80 billion by 2025 in bid to boost desalinated water production to 8.5 million c.m. per day.
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Saudi Arabia has announced a number of pioneering projects, including Al Khafji — the world’s first solar-powered desalination plant. Valued at $130 million, the photovoltaic plant — a joint venture between Advanced Water Techologies and Abengoa — will produce 60,000 cu m of water to supply Al Khafji City in North Eastern Saudi Arabia, ensuring a constant water supply throughout the year.
Saudi Arabia said in 2016 it planned to use public-private partnerships (PPP) with local and foreign companies to fund infrastructure projects.
In August, it said it would develop resorts on about 50 Red Sea islands, completing the first phase of that project — which is backed by its Public Investment Fund (PIF) — in the fourth quarter of 2022.
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