Muscat: Oman’s government plans to build two major independent water desalination plants—one each in Muscat and the North Batinah region—to meet growing demand for potable water in northern region.
Different sites are under consideration for a 60 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD)-capacity project planned in Muscat, which is expected to start operations by 2021. Likewise, another 44 MIGD-capacity project to meet the growing potable water demand in the Northern Batinah and Dhahirah regions is scheduled to commence operations in 2022, according to a seven-year outlook for power and water demand released by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP).
Tenders for selecting multinational firms or consortiums for developing these desalination projects are expected from OPWP—the sole procurer of new power generation and water desalination capacity.
Annual water demand in the northern region (which includes the interconnected zone and Sharqiyah zone) is projected to increase in the range of 5 per cent to 7 per cent for the next seven years—from 281 million cubic meters in 2015 to a range of 390 to 440 million cubic meters in 2022.
Three major water desalination plants, which are under different stages of construction and have a combined water generation capacity of 161 MIGD (equivalent to 731,000 cubic metres per day), will be able to substantially enhance potable water generation in the country.
These projects, which will be commissioned in the next three years, are the Qurayyat Desalination Plant, the Barka IV Desalination Plant and the Sohar III Desalination Plant.
“In 2017, when the Qurayyat Desalination Plant begins operation, total available capacity is projected to meet the capacity target for both the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) demand scenarios. From 2018 to 2019, new capacity at Barka IV and Sohar III will be sufficient to meet targets in both scenarios, despite the retirement of the old Ghubrah units,” said OPWP in its seven-year outlook report.
In 2020, a deficit had emerged against the high case capacity target, although contracted capacity is sufficient to meet the base case capacity target until 2022. Apart from major projects, OPWP is developing a temporary water project in Qurayyat for two years, which will be extendable for another four years.
Further, the Sultanate’s government also plans to build three independent water projects, one each in Salalah, Sharqiyah and Duqm, for meeting growing demand for potable water in other regions with a combined water generation capacity of 52.8 MIGD.
A prequalification process for selecting bidders for the Salalah and Shaqiyah independent water projects has been completed and now the authorities are evaluating bids from these bidders.