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Thu 1 Mar 2007 12:00 AM

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Saudi’s plans to quench a thirst for desalination

Latest research indicates the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will need 4 000 million m3 of fresh water a year by 2020. To meet this burgeoning demand, Saudi Arabia is building new desalination plants.

Latest research indicates the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will need 4 000 million m3 of fresh water a year by 2020. To meet this burgeoning demand, Saudi Arabia is building new desalination plants.

“We hope this arrangement will reduce water shortage…to a great extent,” said Abdullah Al-Hussayen, water and electricity minister.

The Saudi Arabian Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), the firm behind the plan, will build a new plant as well as upgrading an existing one. The new station, scheduled for completion soon, will have a capacity of 200 000 m3 per day. This is projected to be enough to meet Saudi water demand for

six years.

Increasing growth of the population and an expanding economy are both contributing to the rising fresh water demand in the country, already the world’s largest producer of desalinated water.

Saudi Arabia’s 27 desalination plants provide drinking water to major urban and industrial centres through a network of water pipes running for more than 2 300 miles. Desalinated water currently meets 70% of the Saudi drinking water requirement. Last year the SWCC announced it was to build a giant desalination plant

in Yanbu.

“The new plant, which will supply 400 000 m3 of water each day, will help meet the drinking water requirements of the people in the Madinah region until the year 2030,” added Al-Hussayen.

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