Dubai Municipality is planning a major expansion of the emirate’s sewage treatment capacity to meet a projected surge in demand led by the rapid growth in the real estate and tourism sectors.

A new grassroots treatment plant is planned at Jebel Ali, along with a proposed expansion of the existing Al-Aweer plant.

The municipality has appointed the UK’s Montgomery Watsonas consultant for the Jebel Ali plant, which in the first phase will have capacity of about 250,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) and cost an estimated AED 500 million ($136 million). Three further phases are planned at the site, which will take overall capacity to 1 million cm/d. First-phase designs are expected to be completed by September 2005, with tenders issued shortly after. Construction is scheduled to take three-four years.

‘Due to the very fast expansion of Dubai we had to start thinking about a second treatment plant earlier than we had planned, which is why we have awarded this project to a consultant,’ says Farid Saadi, the municipality’s assistant director of drainage and irrigation. ‘The idea is to have one plant accommodating the Deira side and one on the Dubai side of the creek.’

Dubai’s existing treatment plant at Al-Aweer may also be expanded. Montgomery Watson is carrying out a feasibility study focusing on expanding the plant and improving its efficiency. A final decision on whether to proceed with the project is expected by the first quarter of 2005. The plant was last expanded in 1998, with capacity increasing to 260,000 cm/d.