Saudi Arabia will have to invest up to $267 billion USD to expand water and power production by 2030, according to a report issued by UAE-based Crescent Petroleum Company.
“Demand on water and power exceeds the percentage of growth in these two sectors,” in the kingdom, said the report, released last week.
Annual growth in water and power demand is estimated at 8.8 percent, and “investment in both sectors has not been able to live up to steady increase in demand,” it added.
The oil-rich kingdom will need $106 billion USD for water and sanitation projects through 2030, the report predicted.
“The reuse of wastewater and cutting water wastage are among the key challenges Gulf countries will need to address,” it said, noting that Gulf Countries will have to create a common water network in order to meet future challenges.
Saudi Arabia, considered the world’s biggest producer of desalinated water, operates 30 desalination plants and produces 24 million cubic meters per day. The cost of producing one cubic meter of desalinated water is estimated at about $2 USD. Consumers pay only 2 per cent of this cost.
The report concluded that unless a comprehensive development plan is adopted that takes into consideration increasing future demand on power and water, development projects will not achieve the desired results in the region.
Saudi Arabia recently announced it would spend $13.3 billion USD for water and wastewater projects between 2013 and 2017. The kingdom’s expenditures on water and sanitation projects in 2013 alone are expected to reach $6.4 billion USD. These projects include building new water treatment, desalination and sewage treatment plants, as well as dams and wells. They also include replacing old mains and reducing water and electricity use.
Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has announced a goal of increasing desalinated water production by 2 million cubic meters by the end of this year.
The Ministry of Water and Electricity aims to provide 50 percent of the country’s desalinated water and power supply using renewable and nuclear energy. It will invest in solar-powered technologies for use in new desalination facilities.
This story is brought to readers free in association with Singapore International Water Week.