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Water Desalinization in Saudi Arabia
A published report by the State owned Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has stated that the daily volume of produced desalinized water is 2 million cubic meters. SWCC owns and operates 15 water desalinization plants. Twelve of these plants are located on the Red Sea, the Western Province, and the remaining 3 are on the Arabian Gulf, the Eastern Province.

In 1997, desalinization plants on the Arabian Gulf produced more than 427 million cubic meters of sweet water. This equals 59% of the total production of the Saudi water desalinization units. The Red Sea desalinization units produced 300 million cubic meters of sweet water or 41% of the total production capacity of desalinization plants.

The capital city Riyadh received 286.8 million cubic meters of sweet water from desalinization plants in the Eastern Province. Western Province water desalinization units provided Jeddah with 153.17 million cubic meters, Mecca and Taif with 73.86 million cubic meters and Al-Madinah with 28.13 cubic meters.

To ensure the flow of water in its 2000 kilometer long pipeline network, SWCC has built 24 water pumping stations to transport desalinized water to 98 water storage tanks which can hold 3 million cubic meters of water.

The report has added that dual-purpose desalinization plants produce sweet water and power. A small portion of the generated power is used to operate the desalinization facility and the remaining major part is transmitted to the Saudi consolidated electricity companies. In 1997, the maximum load of transmitted power from the desalinization units to the consolidated electricity companies was 3224 megawatts. Eastern Province desalinization units transmitted 14.27 million megawatts per hour, 66.61% of its generated power, to the Saudi Consolidated Electricity Company in the same province. Western Province desalinization plants transmitted 7.33 million megawatts per hour to the Saudi Consolidated Electricity Company in their province.

SWCC has completed 3 major water desalinization projects. These are:

- The 2nd phase of Al-Madinah-Yanbu unit,
- The Al-Jubail reverse osmosis unit,
- The 3rd phase of Al-Khobar unit.

Work is still going on at the second phase of the Al-Shoaibah unit on the Red Sea. After this project is completed, the daily produced volume of desalinized water will rise to 3 million cubic meters (50%) more than the current production. Extra power estimated at 745 megawatts will be generated.

Pipeline laying work is being conducted for these projects:

- 3rd pipeline between Jubail and Riyadh,
- Riyadh-Sudair-Al-Washim-Al-Gasim pipeline,
- 2nd phase of Yanbu-Al-Madinah pipeline.

Work has also started on laying main water pipeline in the Eastern Province and Shoaiba-Jeddah. Water pumping stations to Mecca and Taif have been upgraded.

The total length of the aforementioned pipeline projects will be 2000 kilometers. The pipeline network will be connected to 10 water pumping stations, 4 terminal water pumping stations and 44 water storage tanks which can hold more than 2 million cubic meters.

SWCC is planning to build 12 more water desalinization units on the Red Sea and 5 on the Arabian Gulf. Their sweet water production capacity will be 2.3 million cubic meters. Also, 12 pipeline network projects, estimated at 2773 kilometers long, are being studied to transport sweet water to areas, which do not have it.

Other under study projects are a 42 kilometer long pipeline to transport fuel oil to water desalinization stations in Al-Khobar and a 44 kilometer long pipeline to transport natural gas to the same stations.

For more information please contact:

Mr. James Harrison, Operations Manager
Al-Jubail Water Desalinization Plant
Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC)
P.O. Box 3223
Al-Khobar 31952, Saudi Arabia
Tel: 966/3/361-0333, Ext. 38002
Fax: 966/3/361-0333, Ext. 32332


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