Saudi Arabia has revealed more than 60 water projects, worth $9.33 billion, that will cement the Kingdom’s position as the world’s largest water desalination market, at the 3rd MENA Desalination Projects Forum 2022.
Once completed, these projects will raise desalination capacity to 7.5 million cubic meters of water per day by 2027, from 2.54 cubic meters per day in 2021, nearly tripling the capacity in just six years.
This is in line with Saudi Arabia’s National Water Strategy published in 2018 which adopted a sustainable approach to the water sector, committing to safeguarding the natural resources and the environment of the Kingdom and providing cost-effective supply and high-quality services.
Saudi Arabia’s population is expected to grow from 35 million in 2021 to around 40 million by 2026. This growth in the population will put pressure on basic infrastructure. Being an arid country, Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in its water infrastructure.
There are more than $5.5 billion of water projects currently under construction. Saudi Arabia has adopted Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) as a procurement strategy, with 70 percent of its water processing infrastructure projects procured on this basis.
“The depth of the water scarcity is getting from bad to worse. The governments of the MENA countries are seeking alternative ways to generate clean water, without harming the environment. Although there are new sustainable sources of generating water, such as from the air, desalination still now remains one of the most viable sources to feed large communities. That way, the Middle East Desalination Projects Forum is one of the most important industry conferences that highlight the challenges as well as opportunities.”
According to the MENA Desalination Market report by Ventures Onsite, which tracks construction projects in the region, investment in desalination projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has increased significantly in recent years and now accounts for 48 percent of global desalination projects, with further investments expected to boost the market to $4.3 billion by 2022.
A report revealed that seawater desalination now accounts for more than 90 percent of all daily water consumption in the GCC region. The desalination capacity of GCC countries is expected to grow further by approximately 37 percent during the next five years, with investments of up to $100 billion, according to reports. The global desalination market is predicted to grow from $17.7 billion in 2020 to $32.1 billion by 2027.
The Forum is supported by the UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure, Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE), Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC), Saudi Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), Water Authority of Jordan, Emirates Water and Electricity Company(EWEC), Moroccan National Company of Drinking Water and Sanitation, RAK Municipality, Palestinian Water Authority, Water Alliance, International Water Management Institute, Sustainable Water Power Consultants, among others.