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The first private sector desalination plant, will open on the North Obhur in six weeks
Jeddah, 28th August 2001

 A new desalination plant, described as the first to be established in the private sector to be awarded a license by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water, will open on the North Obhur in six weeks, Nizar Kammourie, business development manager of Saudi Brothers Commercial Company (SBCC), told Arab News yesterday.

SBCC’s Al-Safya Water Company plant in its first phase will produce 5,000 cubic meters of water a day. “But the SR45 million plant, when running at its full capacity, will produce 10,000 cubic meters,” Kammourie said.

The water produced by the plant will be unbottled, but will be safe for drinking as it will meet the standards set by Saudi Arabian Standards Organization and World Health Organization.

The plant will supply water to many clients, including manufacturers of soft drinks and fruit juice, villas and housing compounds, hotels and restaurants, beach resorts, hospitals, and industries that use water for cooling, processing and irrigation.

Existing public desalination plants are finding it difficult to meet the growing needs of industry and a rapidly expanding population, and are facing other problems resulting from climatic changes that have resulted in very little rainfall over the past few years.

In any case, demand for water in Jeddah is constantly growing. And, being the gateway to the two holy cities, Jeddah’s water supply is in particularly heavy demand during the Haj and Umrah.

As part of its bid to supplement the efforts of the public desalination plants in producing potable water, SBCC conducted market research with a base sample of 250 individuals and institutions.

The results indicated that that there was a shortage of close to 200,000 cubic meters a day in the supply.

If the new plant is successful, more desalination plants will be established in locations both within and around the city.

Kammourie said his company will have a fleet of 23 delivery tankers made of stainless steel. The plant will employ about 100 people, 30 percent of them technical staff.

The city’s main sources of water are the government-run desalination plants on the Corniche and a pipeline connected to the desalination plant in Shuaiba.

Heavy tankers bring in additional supplies from wells in Taif and Asfan. Unfortunately, these wells become depleted in the summer months.

There are still a number of households and institutions, including hospitals, that are not connected to the water network or have to augment their water requirements by tanker deliveries.

Jeddah’s first desalination plant was constructed in 1907, thus ending the city’s dependence on brackish well water. The late King Abdul Aziz commissioned two other plants in 1927.

Today there are 27 desalination plants on the coasts of the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, which supply more than 600 million gallons of drinking water daily, making Saudi Arabia the world’s largest producer of desalinated water.

Source: © Arab News

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28 August, 2001 03:59:43 PM

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