Saudi to build world's largest desalination plant

Work on 600,000m3 per day project in Rabigh to begin in 2014 Q4

The plant will be built to the north of Jeddah and will serve the north of the city
The plant will be built to the north of Jeddah and will serve the north of the city

Saudi Arabia is planning to build the world’s largest desalination plant in Rabigh, northwest of Jeddah, according to The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) which is developing the project.

Arab News reports that the multibillion riyal project will have a daily capacity of 600,000m³ per day and will employ the reverse osmosis system of desalination.

Muhammad Al-Thubaity, director general of SWCC in the Western Region, said: “Work on the project will start in the first quarter of 2014 and will be completed in 2018.”

Al-Thubaity added that the cost of the project has been covered in this year’s budget and that the new plant will supply water to cities and villages around Rabigh such as north Jeddah, Makkah and Taif. He also emphasised SWCC’s determination to supply adequate amount of water to all parts of the Kingdom.

The capacity of the present desalination plant in Rabigh has been increased to 20,000m³ daily to supply drinking water to Khalees and Rabigh.

SWCC, the largest procurer of desalination infrastructure in the world, currently produces around 20.7% of the total world production of desalinated water. Around 88.5% of water supplied by SWCC is produced by large MSF (multi-stage flash distillation) plants, 10.6% produced by large RO (reverse osmosis) plants, which are combined with existing dual MSF power plants and 0.9% is produced by small size (satellite) RO, MSF and ME (multiple effect distillation) plants.

SWCC announced last year that it wanted to add nearly 4 million m³ of capacity to its desalination portfolio over the next 15 years. It anticipates a gap of about 1.5 million m³ 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 m³. 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 2 million m³ to its capacity.

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