Saudis Budget 16.6 Billion Riyals for Water Desalination Works

Dec 25, 2013 7:15 am ET

Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia is allocating 16.6 billion riyals ($4.4 billion) for desalination projects, Abdulrahman Al-Ibrahim, governor of the Saline Water Conversion Corp., said in an e-mailed statement.

The spending budgeted for next year will pay to complete the Ras al-Khair power and desalination plant in Ras al-Khair Industrial City on the Persian Gulf. The complex will have capacity to process 1 million cubic meters (264 million gallons) of desalinated water a day.

“Budget allocations for desalination projects have grown steadily over the past five years,” Al-Ibrahim said in the statement today. “These projects are of great importance as we face challenges in the growing demand for desalinated water as a strategic option to secure water supplies.”

Saudi Arabia, with the Arab world’s largest economy, is expanding water works to supply the energy industry and a population that has quadrupled in 40 years to 30 million people. The desert kingdom is the world’s biggest producer of desalinated water, attracting foreign investors including Veolia Environnement SA and Suez Environnement Co.

--Editors: Bruce Stanley, Amy Teibel