Saudi Arabia will need $53 billion in water sector investment supported by private funds as the Ministry in charge of the sector said it was looking to privatize in order to meet demand, government leaders said.
The comments were made by officials from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conservation Corporation (SWCC) at the two-day Water Investment Forum this weekend.
“We are envisaging that the capital requirements in the next five years will reach up to SR200 billion ($53.3 billion),” Mansour Al-Mushaiti, deputy minister with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, told the Water Investment Forum Saturday evening.
The Ministry is seeking to create an “investment platform” for the water sector in order to meet the 5% annual demand growth for water in Saudi Arabia.
“Work is currently progressing on the construction of an investment platform and the establishment of strategic partnerships in the production, transportation and distribution of water,” Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli told reporters after the forum’s opening on Saturday.
Ali Al-Hazmi, the head of the SWCC, the organization in charge of desalination in Saudi Arabia, said that future plants will be tendered to the private sector and that “everything is ready” for the organization to be privatized.
Minister Fadli said the Kingdom now has about 520 dams in various regions to preserve rain and flood water, the Saudi Gazette reports. The SWCC is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water, operating 28 plants and as part of the process is able to generate electricity for the national power grid.