The desalination plant will be organised along the same lines as the 2,000-MW independent power projects (IPPs) at Skikda and Arzew. The selected investor will be invited to form a project company with the plant’s promoter, AEC, and the water offtaker, Algerienne des Eaux (ADE). The project company will then be responsible for the design, financing, construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of the plant which will have a capacity of 130,000-150,000 cubic metres a day. AEC and ADE will together own a maximum 30 per cent share of the developing company, an AEC official told MEED on 13 March.

Interested companies have until 30 April to submit technical proposals for the Hamma plant, though the deadline may be extended if candidates require more time. Bidders will only be called to submit commercial offers if they have already initialled the contractual package, including the water purchase and steam supply agreements.

The Greater Algiers region frequently suffers from chronic water shortages, which can in turn provoke resentment against the government and local authorities. After the most recent shortages, which followed catastrophic floods, the government launched an emergency fund, which included a new programme of well digging to boost water availability (Water, MEED Special Report, 25:1:02, pages 23-24).