PPP needed for Saudi water

Saudi Arabia must rely on public-private partnerships to invest US $200billion (AED735 billion) into its water industry over the next 20 years to meet demands, according to an industry professional.

Saudi Arabia must rely on public-private partnerships to invest US $200billion (AED735 billion) into its water industry over the next 20 years to meet demands, according to an industry professional.

Speaking at the Middle East Waste and Water Congress in Dubai, Mohammad Jalaluddin, construction engineering and management department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia said: "Gulf nations are starting to increase privatisation as it is seen to be more efficient. Public-private partnerships will play a big role in this investment as it is needed to meet the huge investment gap."

Build-operate-transfer (BOT) contracts are predicted to become the preferred method of PPP. Under these the private sector finances the design, construction and operation of projects for a specified time, after which ownership is transferred back to the Government.

Jalaluddin warned that the infancy of PPP in the Kingdom may lead to initial problems and methods must be taken to minimise the effects of these. "There will need to be a regulatory body in place to make sure that tariffs aren't unfair and there should also be a BOT centre, with the objective of showing best practice and helping to promote investment and pool resources," he stated.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world's largest users of water, with a daily consumption of 286 litres; 30% of this is estimated to be lost through leakages.

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