Saline Water Conversion Corporation´s (SWCC) Al-Khobar 1 desalination plant in Khobar, on the country’s east coast, has achieved five million man-hours without Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) as construction passes the 90% completion mark. This achievement reflects the shared commitment of SWCC and ACCIONA, to risk prevention and Health & Safety measures for all workers on the project.

This milestone has been attained while strictly observing all the international and local protocols put in place to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

ACCIONA is the EPC contractor for the Al Khobar 1 Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant, which will produce 210,000 cubic meters of potable water per day. It will serve a population of 350,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest desalination plants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Al Khobar 1 SWRO desalination plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

The zero Lost Time Injuries record is the result of good teamwork with the client along with our engineers at the construction teams. Several Health & Safety measures are in place, including specific training for employees involved in activities that carry a relative risk such as work at height, safe diving in marine works and working in confined spaces. Other initiatives reinforced Health & Safety management, including the introduction of dangerous situations reports, inspections and audits, and the correct storage of chemical products.

The preventive measures at the construction site include regular coordination meetings with the subcontractors, weekly visits to analyze the state of work, and a training schedule during construction. All these initiatives have allowed the early detection of potential risky situations, and have prevented occupational accidents from happening. Also, with the world pandemic current situation, we are implementing COVID-19 Prevention and control programs as per direction of ACCIONA and Saudi Arabia MOH & WHO.

“Reaching five million man-hours without LTI is an important milestone for this huge project, and it has been achieved thanks to the cooperation of all the companies involved and their awareness for health and safety procedures in the work place”, stated Project Director Ignacio Lobo Gutiérrez, from ACCIONA.

Jesús Sancho, ACCIONA Middle East Managing Director, said: “This achievement proves how important and ambitious goals can be accomplished without compromising the health and safety of all our employees and all the people involved in the construction. It is an essential milestone and we are very proud of it, as it demonstrates our commitment to respect the goals of our client and local authorities”.

Total desalinated water production in the Middle East will be 13 times higher in 2040 than it was in 2014, according to the latest ACCIONA Sustainability Report. In a region with acute water scarcity, demand for desalinated water is being driven by climate change and population growth. Saudi Arabia, which has a population of about 33.4 million, is the world’s third largest per capita consumer of water after the United States and Canada. The country announced last year a national program for rationalizing water consumption in the Kingdom and as part of the Vision 2030, setting ambitious targets that include slashing usage by nearly 24 percent by next year and some 43 percent by the end of the next decade.

ACCIONA desalinates water using the most efficient reverse osmosis technology. The use of this technology emits 6.5 times fewer greenhouse gases than thermal desalination technologies.