The UAE’s Federal Electricity & Water Authority (Fewa) is working with an independent, locally-based financial adviser for its Umm al-Quwain independent water project (IWP).

The consultant has been working with Fewa on the project for more than a year.

Austria’s ILF Consulting Engineers are the technical advisers, while the UK’s Watson, Farley & Williams are the legal advisers.

This will be Fewa’s first private utilities project. It is also one of the first independent water projects in the UAE, as Abu Dhabi and Dubai have favoured co-generation.

Fewa invited developers to prequalify for the contract to develop the planned 45 million-imperial-gallon-a-day (MIGD) desalination plant with a June deadline.

The request for proposals is expected in August, with a possible deadline in October.

The project is the latest evidence of an increasing drive to develop utility plants in the northern emirates. Fewa is reliant on imports of power and water from Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea) to meet its requirements. But in the past 12 months, there has been progress with 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. They will form Al-Hamra Water Company, which will develop a 22 MIGD reverse osmosis (RO) plant.