The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has started technical studies on a common regional water network, Bahraini Minister of Electricity and Water Abdel-Hussein Ben Ali Merza said last week.
“The studies will be conducted in the eastern parts of Saudi Arabia and part of the capital city, Riyadh, and in northern regions in Oman, in addition to other areas in the Gulf countries,” said Merza.
Environmental impact assessments will also be carried out to identify the best places to build desalination plants in Al Ashkharah, on the Arabian Sea, and Suhar, on the Gulf of Oman.
The studies assume that the region’s population will grow from the 25.5 million people to 65 million by 2045.
“The daily per capita share of water will be estimated at 21 liters, which is the amount needed in emergencies under international standards,” Merza said.
The total cost of building the common network is estimated at $10.5 billion USD -- $3 billion USD for desalination plant construction and $7.5 billion USD for pipelines, pumping stations and reservoirs.
The project will be implemented in three phases. The first will cost $2.7 billion USD, while the second -- which involves building water pipelines networks and a treatment plant in Suhar – will cost $4 billion USD.
The $3.8 billion USD third phase of the project involves constructing al Ashkharah Treatment Plant in Oman.
The oil-rich GCC countries plan to complete the common water network by 2020. The project is part of a broader strategy to achieve water security and improve the desalination industry in the region by helping unify standards and specifications for desalination in member countries.
GCC countries currently account for 40 percent of total global desalinated water production.
This story is brought to readers free in association with Singapore International Water Week.