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Saudi Arabia: Desalination

Water Security Through Desalination

| Editor: Alexander Stark

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman pays a visit to a desalination plant in Jeddah.
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Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman pays a visit to a desalination plant in Jeddah. (Source: Saudi Press Agency)

Saudi Arabia plans to build nine water desalination plants on the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, at a total cost of more than $ 530 million.

Riyadh/Saudi Arabia — Abdulrahman Alfadley, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, tweeted that the project to build the plants was ordered by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The plants will have a total capacity of 240,000 m3 of water per day.

The news of the plans came as Saline Water Conversion Corp (SWCC) said it had achieved a historical record in desalination technology that helped increase the production of desalinated water to five million cubic meters per day, a global record for the desalination industry.

In 2011, the volume of water supplied by the country's 27 desalination plants in 17 locations was 3.3 m3/day (1.2 billion m3/year). Alfadley said the new plants, to be completed in less than 18 months, will boost production efficiency and cut operating costs for the SWCC, a government corporation.

These plants “will have a significant impact on improving the quality and scope of water services, in pursuit of the objectives of the National Transition Program 2020,” he said. This year, the country achieved a record with the addition of 1.4 million m3 of desalinated water in 13 months.

Water security is a key challenge for Saudi Arabia, which has invested heavily in seawater desalination, making the Kingdom the world’s largest producer of desalinated water currently.

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