The European consortium beat off stiff competition from two other groups – Canada’s SNC Lavalin, with Siemensof Germany; and Razelof France, Europe’s ABB Electric, Hitachi Corporation of Japan, Hamza Associatesof Egypt and the local GCB (MEED 6:7:01).

The pumping station will have a capacity of 23 cubic metres a second, making it the largest of its kind in the country. It will be driven by two 100-MW pumps, to be supplied and installed by Alstom, which will also provide two 100-MVA engines. Under the O&M contract, the French company will assume management responsibilities for the facility for 10 years. Dragados, which was selected to build the dam in 1993, will construct the 80-metre-high, 30-metre-diameter intake tower.

The pumping station represents the first of three elements in a project to supply drinking water to six provinces in the El-Milia area in the north of the country. It is expected to come on stream by the end of 2004 and will provide each local resident with a minimum of 150 litres of water a day.

The Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development is leading the financing for the project.