Saudi Arabia to build world's largest desalination plant

Feb 12, 2013 12:00 AM

The Saline Water Conversion Corporation has announced its plan to establish the world's largest desalination plant in Rabigh, northwest of Jeddah, with a capacity of 600,000 cubic meters of water daily.

"Work on the project will start in the first quarter of 2014 and will be completed in 2018," said Muhammad Al-Thubaity, director general of SWCC in the Western Region, adding that allocation for the multibillion riyal project has been made in this year's budget.

He said the new plant would supply water to north Jeddah, Makkah and Taif. The capacity of the present desalination plant in Rabigh has been increased to 20,000 cubic meters daily to supply drinking water to Khalees and Rabigh.
Al-Thubaity said the new Rabigh plant, which will follow reverse osmosis system, would meet water requirements of cities and villages around Rabigh. He emphasized SWCC's determination to supply adequate amount of water to all parts of the Kingdom.

SWCC currently produces around 20.7% of the total world production of desalinated water. Around 88.5 percent of water supplied by SWCC is produced by large MSF plants, 10.6 percent produced by large RO plants, which are combined with existing dual MSF/power plants and 0.9 percent is produced by small size (satellite) RO, MSF and ME plants.

SWCC announced last year that it wanted to add nearly four million cubic meters of capacity to its desalination portfolio over the next 15 years. SWCC, the largest procurer of desalination infrastructure in the world, anticipates a gap of about 1.5 million cubic meters between water demand and supply from current facilities by 2025.

New plants are under construction in Ras Al-Khair and Jeddah, which will provide an extra 1.3 million cubic meters. SWCC has identified capacity expansions at Shuqaiq, Shuaiba and Jubail, plus two new plants apiece at Alkhobar and Yanbu, as a way of adding a further two million cubic meters to its capacity.

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