Energy & Water is growing rapidly and is considered one of the most important strategic sectors in the kingdom. This led to the emergence of renewable energy as a key objective in Vision 2030 with focus on efficiency as an important element in sustainable growth. The Kingdom currently has the largest desalination market in the world, with aim of increasing the reuse and water treatment market. As well as a leadership role in finding solutions and innovations related to water technologies and research.
Based on a clear foundation and legislation in the production, transmission and distribution of electricity and water, to ensure the rights of investors and consumers, Saudi Arabia is considered one of the strong and serious committed countries with the ongoing privatization and localization in both energy and water sectors In addition, growing demand for electricity and water in the kingdom increases further due to the constant sustainable growth in the industrial, residential and commercial sectors.
Saudi Arabia is widely recognized as one of the leading and most advanced nations in the water sector globally.
The Kingdom is the global leader in desalination, the GCC’s largest market for water reuse and a pioneer in water technology innovation, scale and research. Numerous investment opportunities await in this sector, whether in existing waste-water treatment assets or new projects like the world’s first solar powered desalination plant. This sector also benefits from the support of a committed government and an independent regulator, making KSA one of the most attractive places in the world to invest in water.
Saudi Arabia's water sector has seen a remarkable annual growth of 8% per annum and is showing no signs abating. The current total daily capacity of 4.6 million m3 (including desalination and re-use) prompts a valuation of the sector at over SAR 48.75 billion (US $ 13 billion). The water sector owes its growth to strong industrial output, steady population increases and a huge consumption rate per capita.
Saudi has one of the highest rates of water consumption per capita globally. At 300 liters/ day, Saudi Arabia consumes twice as much water as the UK. Total investments are set to exceed SAR 187 billion (US $ 50 billion) by 2020, going towards water production, infrastructure and water related services.
Opportunities for growth here are therefore considered to be outstanding, offering peace of mind to even the most hawkish of investors.
Saudi Arabia is the largest desalination market in the world producing around 4 million cubic meters of desalinated water per day. With 28 desalination plants to its name, KSA has the most of any nation yet is pushing to triple the capacity of desalination production by 2025 to reach 8.5 million cubic meters per day.
Tremendous opportunities await the private sector, with approximately SAR 300 billion (US $ 80 billion) expected to be invested in desalination projects over the next 10 years. Saudi Arabia is truly leading the way in this field and is well positioned to maintain this course for the foreseeable future.
Water reuse is playing an increasingly important role in the pursuit of sustainable water resources management. Saudi Arabia already has a thriving water reuse industry and aims to become the GCC’s largest market by tripling its current level of production to 1.9m m3/day by 2020. Ambitious targets of 90% water reuse have also been targeted by 2040, with aspirations to transform the existing and planned wastewater treatment assets into source water supplies for the industrial sector. In addition, the Kingdom officially launched a water reuse initiative to create an environmentally friendly, diversified source of water and to promote the financial sustainability of the long-term market. There are multiple projects and initiatives being implemented across this sector making the water reuse market very attractive to the outside investor.
KSA boasts the largest number of desalination plants in the world and has plans to privatise 17 of its SWCC plants to achieve 50% privatisation of the overall desalination market. Numerous investment opportunities will arise from these initiatives as the government continues its plan to diversify the desalination market. Additionally, more than 75 water and sewage projects worth more than SAR 2 billion (US $ 550 million) were signed by the government in the past 2 years, highlighting its proven commitment to the sector.
Investors can also be assured by the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), which was established as an independent regulator for the water sector and by the Water and Electricity Company (WEC), which acts as a principle buyer in the water sector.
KSA has long been established as a pioneer in the water sector. Through its well-rooted companies, advanced R&D centres and experienced talent pool, the Kingdom prides itself in its cutting-edge approach to sustainable water solutions. Boundaries are being pushed as Advanced Water Technology (AWT) is developing the world’s first solar powered desalination plant. The same can be said for Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) research institute, which is heavily engaged in a variety of projects to enhance membrane technology and desalination production cost efficiencies. Furthermore, Saudi Aramco is investing in leading water technology companies (e.g. OxyMem for water), placing Saudi Arabia at the heart of technological advancement when it comes to water.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Saudi Arabia
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