Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company (NWC) has awarded Netherlands-based Arcadis a contract to prepare a water infrastructure masterplan for the region of Mecca.

The 18-month contract involves developing a water, wastewater, treated sewage effluent (TSE) and asset management master plan.

Arcadis will work with the NWC to prepare a database study of their water and wastewater infrastructure assets; develop an integrated water, wastewater and TSE master plan; and prepare a capital investment plan for 2015 to 2050. This will enable future planning of water infrastructure for residential and industrial use over 35 years, including emergency works.

The population of Mecca increases from a base of 2 million people to 6 million during hajj pilgrimage celebrations, putting strain on water infrastructure. Currently water service coverage in Mecca is only around 65 per cent of the populated area and the wastewater service coverage is less. Existing treatment plant capacity is not enough to treat the additional flow and load.

The NWC has allocated SR10.7bn to invest in water services in Mecca and Taif before 2017, while investment in the sector will reach SR50bn across the country. This is to meet growing demand for water and wastewater services in the kingdom. The NWC also put consultancy services contracts for water services out to tender in mid-2014 for other major cities, including Riyadh and Jeddah.