Ewec and Acwa Power finalise Dh3.27bn water desalination plant deal

Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) finalised a Dh3.27 billion (SGD $1.2 billion) deal with Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power to build a desalination facility at Taweelah with a production capacity over 900,000 cubic metres per day.

The project will use reverse osmosis technology to desalinate seawater and will be one of the largest energy efficient plants in the world, Ewec said in a statement on Wednesday. Reverse osmosis is a process in which water flows through a membrane that separates heavier sediments and salts. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium are then added to the filtered water before packaging it for consumption.

Acwa Power owns a 40 per cent stake in the company that will run the facility, Independent Water Producers, with the remaining 60 per cent owned by Mubadala Investments Company and Abu Dhabi Power Corporation.

Once the project is complete, Ewec will be the off-taker for the water output produced by the project over a 30-year period. The plant is scheduled to commence full commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“The choice of reverse osmosis sea water desalination technology will play a critical part in significantly reducing water production costs, contributing to our goals to build a more sustainable and efficient water and energy sector in the UAE,” said Othman Al Ali, chief executive of Ewec. “The project will also help save material fuel costs across the sector, given the flexibility that the technology provides.”

The UAE relies on desalination – the process of converting sea water – for drinking water and regularly uses cloud seeding to encourage rainfall.