The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) is providing $180 million USD to bring water to Yemen’s Taez governorate, Yemeni officials said last week.
The project involves building a desalination plant in Al Mokha region and transporting water from Al Mokha to water-scarce Taez via a 105-kilometer-long pipeline.
“We will soon start completing the procedures for establishing the desalination plant, in partnership with the private sector,” said Water and Environment Minister Abdel-Salam al Razzaz.
The project is expected to be completed within 24 months.
“The SFD will also finance distribution networks and desalinated water reservoirs associated with the project,” added Abdallah al Shoroukhi, a senior engineer the Saudi fund.
The Water and Environment Ministry announced last month that Taez was facing “a serious water crisis.”
It urgently needs hundreds of millions of dollars to end its water problems through desalination, according to officials.
Saudi Arabia had previously pledged to help build a number of desalination and water facilities in the city.
The city has 64 water wells that produce only 9,000 cubic meters per day, less than the governorate needs to meet demand.
Officials say desalination is the only solution left.
Taez’s water crisis has been growing over the past four decades. Its problems are exacerbated by recurrent power cuts and incursions on water wells. Water facilities have also been sabotaged by rebels.
The cash-strapped government is depending on foreign aid to fund water and sanitation projects in the governorate.
The US Agency for International Aid (USAID) last year allocated $118 million USD to address water and sanitation needs of 550,000 people in conflict areas. The allocation also aimed to support 215,000 refugees from the Horn of Africa region.
A conference held by the Friends of Yemen last year approved $4 billion USD to finance development and infrastructure projects in various Yemeni governorates and to save the country’s economy from total collapse.
This story is brought to readers free in association with Singapore International Water Week.