Almar Water Solutions, a leading company in the development of water infrastructure, (part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy), and Abdul Latif Jameel Commercial Development Company (CDC) held the ceremony to break ground for the Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant together with their Acciona, Marubeni Corporation and Rawafid Alhadarah Holding Co. The event took place at the site chosen for the construction of the plant, on the shores of the Red Sea, approximately 137 kilometers to north of Jizan, in Saudi Arabia.
The ceremony was attended by Faisal S. El Samannoudi, Vice-Chairman, and Rowaid Al Sawaf, General Manager, of Abdul Latif Jameel CDC, together with Yahia Kafi, Chief Financial Officer, and for Almar Water Solutions, Santiago Martínez, Managing Director.
HE Álvaro Iranzo, Spanish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and the Counsellor for Economic and Financial Affairs of the Spanish Embassy in Riyadh José Ramón Ferrandis Muñoz, also attended.
Shuqaiq 3, which reached its’ US$ 600 million investment financial close last May, will be one of the largest reverse osmosis desalination plants in the world, with a production capacity of 450,000 cubic meters per day. The project will be executed under a 25-year BOO (build, own, operate) contract, and its completion is planned for the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant will significantly relieve the water shortage in the area, supplying of drinking water to more than 1.8 million people, in addition to contributing to the country’s economic and industrial development and creating around 700 employment opportunities construction start and final commissioning of the plant
The project is of such importance that last month it received the ‘Utilities Project of the Year’ award at the Middle East Energy Awards 2019 held in Dubai, making it one of the flagship projects in the region.
According to the World Water Development Report 2019, the Middle East is the region of the World with the most severe water scarcity. While the average water availability worldwide is 7,453m3 per capita per annum, in the Middle East there this drops to only 736m3, according to the latest available figures from AQUASTAT (n.d.). Water shortage per capita has been increasing and is expected to rise in the future due to population growth and climate change. This trend has also contributed to the over-exploitation of groundwater and the loss of arable land for agriculture.
For this reason, the Middle East is one of the areas where Almar Water Solutions is focusing its efforts to develop innovative and sustainable projects, to guarantee sufficient water quality and quantity for its population and the Shuqaiq 3 desalination plant will help mitigate the shortage suffered by the inhabitants of the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia, providing a new source of drinking water for both domestic, urban agricultural and industrial use.