Austrian firm ILF Consulting Engineers has been awarded the consultancy services contract for an independent water project (IWP) in the UAE emirate of Umm al-Qwain.

The client for the project is the Federal Electricity & Water Authority (Fewa), the utility for the northern emirates of the UAE. The IWP will have a capacity of 45 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD), and will use reverse osmosis (RO) technology. 

The project will be one of the first IWPs in the UAE, with Abu Dhabi’s public-private partnership (PPP) utility projects to date all being cogeneration facilities with power elements.

The project is the latest evidence of an increasing drive to develop utility plants in the northern emirates. In recent years, Fewa has increasingly relied on imports of power and water from Abu Dhabi’s utility, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea), to meet requirements in the Northern emirates. But in the past 12 months there has been progress with plans for water projects in the Northern Emirates.

 In August 2015, Ras al-Khaimah based utilities company Utico signed an agreement with Spain’s Grupo Cobra to develop a AED719m ($196m) IWP.

 Privately owned Utico inked an agreement with Grupo Cobra to form Al-Hamra Water Company, which will develop a 22 million-imperial-gallon-a-day (MIGD) reverse osmosis (RO) plant. The facility will be partly powered by a proposed 40MW solar plant, which Utico is also planning to develop.