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Kenya to issue RFP for first desalination project

Five shortlisted companies will be issued with RFPs in May for the project to be built in the coastal county of Mombasa

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Seawater desalination is set to take over as a major source for potable water in Sub-Saharan Africa with Kenya announcing plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for its first ever desalination project.

Five shortlisted companies will be issued with RFPs in May for the project to be built in the coastal county of Mombasa.

The county is tendering two desalination projects on a build, operate, transfer (BOT) basis. They are a plant of 130,000 m3/d in the north, and one of 30,000 m3/d in the south.

Kenya’s minister for water and natural resources revealed at the plans during the Global Water Summit in Madrid this week. Nine companies have shown interest in working on the project.

The new desalination project will be financed through a public-private partnership (PPP), and Mombasa County has committed to help secure land for it.

Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing acute water shortages due to erratic rainfall patterns and the increased frequency of droughts. The region is largely dependent on rainfall; however, alternate sources have to be found to meet the current and the future demand for fresh water.

As drought situations intensify, desalination is now evolving into a long-term solution rather than a temporary fix for several Sub-Saharan African countries.

The desalination project will be financed through a public-private partnership (PPP), and Mombasa County has committed to help secure land for it.

“Global seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination capacity is growing at an annual rate of 13.6% and is expected to continue growing at the same rate over the next 5 years. New prospects are set to open up in Sub-Saharan Africa where demand for clean water has reached unprecedented levels,” said Pierre-Yves Pouliquen, CEO, Suez, Africa, Middle East and India.

South Africa’s 3,000-kilometer coastline could support a whole fleet of eco-friendly desalination plants that will solve the country’s water shortages and produce a new industry, according to analysts.

The World Bank is supporting improvements to water and sanitation services in Mombasa County through its $200 million Kenya Coastal Water Security and Climate Resilience Program.

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