GCC leading the world in water desalination

Huge investment is planned in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman

Huge desalination projects are planned across the GCC to cope with the region's demand for water. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
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The UAE has become one of the largest producers of desalinated water in the world, new data has revealed.

Combined with other GCC nations, the Emirates produces about 40 per cent of the globe’s desalinated water supply.

Saudi Arabia is the industry’s market leader and is responsible for about a fifth of the world’s output.

It produces about four million cubic metres of desalinated water per day and is expected to invest $80 billion (Dh293bn) in new projects over the next 10 years.

The UAE is also investing heavily in key desalination projects across the country.

The Taweelah desalination plant in Abu Dhabi is expected to supply 909,200 cubic metres of water per day when it opens in 2022.

Meanwhile, the Jebel Ali plant complex near Dubai, with a capacity of 150,000 cubic metres of water per day, is due to open this year.

The new figures were released before the Mena Desalination Projects Conference, which takes place in Abu Dhabi in March.

Dr Corrado Sommariva, chief executive of Sustainable Water and Power Consultants, said the conference would showcase innovation in the sector.

“The event is a perfect blend of key water sector players that brings together the public sector, the region’s vision for the future development and the industry which has to follow through with innovation and sustainable solutions,” he said.

Currently, the world’s largest water desalination facility is the Jubail plant in Saudi Arabia. It produces 1.4 million cubic metres of water per day.

In Oman, the desalination market has been expanding by five per cent a year to cope with increasing demand.

The country has nine large desalination plants, plus 47 smaller production facilities that supply about 86 per cent of the country’s water.