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Saudi to invest $53bn in water projects

Approximately 70% of investment for sewage and waste water treatment

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Saudi is looking to invest in its water sector.
Saudi is looking to invest in its water sector.

Saudi Arabia plans to invest $53.33 billion in water projects over the coming 15 years, the chief executive of the National Water Company said on Tuesday.

Around 70 percent of the investment will be for sewage and waste water treatment projects in the kingdom, Loay Al Musallam said on the sidelines of a MEED conference in Dubai.

He said: "We currently have a sewage project in Riyadh and Jeddah with an investment of 18 billion riyals and we are looking to expand these projects to the rest of the kingdom."

The company also plans to increase the utilization of sewage water which only contributes six to seven percent to the water used across Saudi Arabia, Musallam said.

He said: "We rely on desalination which is very expensive and that's why we need to increase the utilization level of sewage water."

Musallam added that over the coming 2 years the kingdom has plans to have sewerage services to cover 60 percent of the Saudi population which will happen through partnership with the private sector.

Asked how the remaining 40 percent of the population will be covered, Musallam said the government will take charge of these projects.

He said: "We have no sewage flooding problems in Saudi, it's just that the private sector companies prefer to work in large cities compared to small villages, that's why these areas will be covered by state projects."

In 2008, Saudi Arabia set up the firm to oversee privatisation of expensive sewerage services and efforts to save dwindling water resources.

The firm controls of all the kingdom's groundwater wells and sewage and desalination plants, which were previously in the hands of various government bodies in a convoluted system. (Reuters)

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