Oman announces desalination plants worth $400m

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A forward osmosis desalination plant located at Al Khaluf, Oman. Photo – H20me.net

An Omani government official announced on Thursday there are plans in place to build three desalination plants at a cost of about $400 million to meet the soaring demand for water.

An official working for the ministry of water, power and electricity told Reuters that Duqm, Sur and Sohar have been chosen as the locations for the multi-million projects. He estimated that Oman’s water consumption is rising 5% annually.

“The desalination plants will meet the growing population and project development requirements,” the official said while declining to be identified as he is not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.

“We expect the three projects to be built at a total cost of $400 million.”

According to a report compiled by state-owned Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the country’s daily demand for water is expected to grow by around 29% to 269 million cubic metres by 2018.

Duqm, located in the central part of the country, is being transformed into an industrial and port city from a sleepy fishing village. Work is also underway on an airport and petrochemical projects, including a 230,000 barrels-per-day refinery.

Sohar, in north-west Oman, is already home to a port, refinery, aluminium smelter and an iron palletising plant, with the city’s airport due to be completed in 2014.

The government has increased spending by an average of 7% a year since 2008, of which roughly 40% is used to fund development projects.

According to official data, Oman’s population of roughly 3 million people, including expatriates, is growing at about 3% per year.

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