Egypt: Aqualia signs a contract to construct Abu Rawash treatment plant

Hassan El Far, Chairman of the Construction Authority for Potable Water and Wastewater (CAPW); Luis de Lope, Aqualia’s International Director; and Maged Abadir, Chief Operations Officer of Orascom have signed a contract for the design, construction and maintenance of the Abu Rawash wastewater treatment plant in Cairo, Egypt. Once finished, the plant will treat 1.6 million m³ of water daily, and will serve six million people, making it one of the largest in the world.

The signing took place at Prime Minister Sherif IsmaiI’s office, who took charge of directing the ceremony. It was attended by Moustafa Madbouli, Ministry of Housing; Sahar Nasr, Ministry of International Cooperation; and Mohamed Kamal el Daly, Giza’s Governor. Also present were Arturo Avello Díez del Corral, Spanish ambassador in Egypt, José Octavio Tripp Villanueva, Mexican ambassador in Egypt, and Khaled El Degwy, Concessions Director of Orascom. Director of Hydraulic Works EMEA of FCC Construcción, Pablo Ovejas, the company leading the delivery of the project, and Leila Mokaddem, Regional Representative of the African Development Bank, the entity responsible of financing the operation, were also in attendance.

The project, valued at US$320 million, was put out to tender by the Egyptian Ministry of Town Planning. It is a design, build, and operate (DBO) contract that includes a three-year operation and maintenance period. Although the initial agreement with the Egyptian government included a concession for 20 years, the economic situation in Egypt made it advisable for the investment in the project to be assumed entirely by the Egyptian state, abandoning the original idea of a concession type contract.

The scope of the work includes the enlargement of the existing primary treatment plant from 1.2 million m³ per day to 1.6 million m³ a day, as well as the addition of biological treatment.

The Abu Rawash contract is part of the ambitious programme for water and sewerage actions by the Government of Egypt, and has the backing of the African Development Bank, a multilateral organisation the purpose of which is to finance development projects on the African continent.

This is the third major project undertaken by Aqualia in Egypt after it was chosen in 2010 to design, build, finance, and operate the New Cairo wastewater treatment plant for two decades. Located in Egypt’s capital, this was the first contract awarded in the country as a public private partnership (PPP). The improvement of the sewerage and treatment services is one of the goals set by the United Nations in the Millennium Development Objectives (MDO) and the New Cairo plant was praised by the international organisation as “an example and engine for social development.”

In 2016, the Egyptian Ministry of Defence awarded Aqualia the project for the El Alamein desalination plant. Located on the Mediterranean coast in an area of growing tourist development, the plant will treat 150,000m³ a day.

As a company that specialises in the design, building, and operation of all types of water and sewerage infrastructure, Aqualia operates 445 treatment plants and 33 desalination plants on four continents. In this sense, the company contributes significantly to the improvement of the quality of life of the societies in which it works.

In addition to its experience in treatment and sewerage projects, the company works on various R&D initiatives to apply new technologies to these processes.