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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Fewa nominates Acwa Power-led team to execute desalination project

Three other desalination plants will be tendered by year-end

Sand dunes in Umm Al Quwain. The emirate is to be home to a new desalination plant. Courtsey: Lucy Heath.
Sand dunes in Umm Al Quwain. The emirate is to be home to a new desalination plant. Courtsey: Lucy Heath.

The UAE’s Federal Electricity and Water Authority, which oversees utilities across all emirates, has nominated an Acwa Power-led consortium as preferred bidders for a desalination project.

“This is Fewa's first desalination plant in co-operation with the private sector and the authority intends to commence three other desalination plants following the same model which will be tendered before the end of this current year,” said Fewa director general Mohammed Salah in a statement carried by state-run news agency Wam on Monday.

The consortium, which also includes Tecton Engineering & Construction, will execute a 45 million Imperial Gallons per day project in Umm Al Quwain.

Gulf states such as the UAE are increasingly relying on desalinated water to meet domestic and industrial sources, to supplement existing ground water reserves. Desalination is one of the biggest drivers of energy consumption in the region, with some estimates suggesting that the GCC’s desalination plants alone account for 0.2 per cent of all energy consumed globally. Some states such as the UAE have explored the option of reducing energy intensity of such processes by introducing renewable sources.

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The choice of Saudi Acwa and Ajman-headquartered Tecton follows “a tender exercise and evaluation of bids”, Fewa said in the statement.

Fewa is now set to commence a final round of discussions on the contract, with a view to reaching financial close and ancillary documents “within the end of the third quarter of 2018”, it added.

Locations and capacity of three other desalination plants under study have been defined, Mr Salah said without providing further details.

“As per our strategic plan, Fewa will be totally independent and securing its water demand by 2022,” he added.