Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has invited companies to prequalify for two contracts for large water transmission pipelines in Riyadh.

The pipelines are part of the new city feeder plan for the transmission of desalinated water in the capital city.

The first contract will involve supplying the pipes and the second will involve installation of the pipelines in Riyadh. The manufacturer can either supply 131 kilometres (km) of 80 inch-diameter pipes or 45km of 100 inch-diameter pipes.

For the deal to manufacture and supply the pipes, firms have until 19 March to submit prequalification entries, while for the contract to install the pipes, companies have until 4 April to prequalify.

As with its power sector, Saudi Arabia faces considerable challenges in expanding the capacity of its desalinated water sector. Demand for water is rising by about 6 per cent a year, as a result of annual population growth of 2-3 per cent and an expanding economy. Moreover, much of the existing desalination capacity was built before 1990 and will have to be replaced over the coming decade.