Federal utility authority signs deal for Umm Al Quwain desalination plant

Fewa signed the agreement with Saudi Arabia's Acwa power and Mubadala Investment Company-owned DMC Power to build the plant

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – April 20: Traffic jam on Sheikh Zayed Road because of accident going towards Abu Dhabi near 5th interchange in Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National)
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The Federal Electricity & Water Authority signed a deal Saudi Arabia’s Acwa power and Mubadala Investment Company-owned DMC Power Holding to build a desalination plant in Umm Al Quwain.

The 150 million-gallon per day water purchase agreement is Fewa’s first, allowing the utility provider to jointly own assets with private sector firms. Fewa will own a 20 per cent stake in the project, while Acwa Power and Mubadala will each hold 40 per cent stakes, the companies said in the joint statement on Tuesday.

The government of Umm Al Quwain will join as a partner and will become a stakeholder in the plant later, Fewa added.

Once commissioned, the plant will be the largest desalination project in the Northern Emirates. The project cost is “deemed as highly competitive” and will utilise the latest technology produce water, while preserving the environment, according to the statement, which did not specify the cost.

Construction is expected to commence in the second half of 2019, with initial water production scheduled for 2021. The project is part of the UAE’s effort to optimise water production and meet increasing demand in the country.

The development will “reinforce UAE’s Water Security Strategy 2036 as well as bolster its core programmes”, said Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy & Industry. The project will encourage the private sector to further invest in the UAE’s northern emirates, said Mr Al Mazrouei, who is also the chairman of Fewa.

The independent water project project will help Fewa meet the demands of both residential and agriculture sectors at competitive and economical prices. The authority is committed to improving and investing in its water facilities infrastructure, Fewa said.

“We made the strategic decision to expand our footprint in the UAE through investing in Umm Al Quwain SWRO [sea water reverse osmosis] and increasing our contribution to the safe and reliable delivery of water,” said Paddy Padmanathan, president and chief executive of Acwa Power.

“We are confident that a project of this scale will go a long way in allowing Fewa to grow its capacity to a point where it can deliver a sustainable supply of water.”