GCC Wastewater 2009: The drive for capacity

03 May 2009

Sewage treatment capacity will have to more than double over the next six years, according to new MEED Insight report GCC Wastewater 2009.

Utilities are seeking to meet robust demand and replace antiquated infrastructure, it says.

Despite the onset of the worst economic downturn in a decade, the outlook for the GCC wastewater sector - one of the most active over the past five years - remains bright, the report says, with almost $10bn of investment planned in new treatment capacity up to 2015.

The existing wastewater infrastructure has been under severe pressure since 2004 when strong economic growth, an expanding population base and an upsurge in real estate activity led to significant increases in sewage inflows and serious overloading at treatment plants across the region.

The late 2008 collapse in the oil price and subsequent real estate downturn put a brake on the runaway growth in demand, particularly in Dubai where leading real estate developers have cancelled or reduced in scope a string of sewage treatment plant (STP) projects in response to the real estate crash.

Across much of the region, the existing STP infrastructure is more than 20 years old and incapable of meeting today’s demands, both in terms of handling volumes and treating effluent to international standards. It has become a priority, therefore, for utility providers across the region to take existing plants out of service and replace them with new capacity.

To access sample content from within the report, please click on the link below:

Written by MEED utility specialists Karin Maree and Elizabeth Bains, the full 57-page GCC Wastewater 2009: The drive for capacity report is now available to buy for US$2,500 from MEED Insight.

This report provides a comprehensive review of the sector in the GCC since 2005 and assesses the outlook for one of the region’s most dynamic industries up to 2015.

In addition to providing in-depth analysis of supply and demand, projected investment levels, the role of the private sector and the technology of wastewater treatment, the report gives a country-by-country overview of the wastewater sector for Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE by emirate, with detailed tables, charts, graphs and maps.

Report data contents

Tables/ charts/ graphs/ mapsPage number
Demand growth by inflows to selected UAE plants7
Wastewater treatment capacity in the GCC8
Additional capacity planned by 20158
Major STP contracts awarded9
Projected cost of building additional wastewater capacity10
TSE reuse in the Gulf11
Comparison of carbon footprint of desalination and effluent reuse12
The activated sludge process14
The MBR process15
Wastewater treatment plants in Bahrain16
Major STPs in Bahrain17
Population growth forecast for the Muharraq region18
Planned development of Muharraq island18
Existing wastewater treatment capacity in Kuwait20
Major STP projects planned in Kuwait21
Sale price of desalinated water and wastewater treated at Sulaibiya22
Cost of reverse osmosis and tertiary treated wastewater22
Expected inlet and outlet flows23
Major STPs in Kuwait24
Existing wastewater treatment capacity in Oman25
Existing Muscat wastewater networks26
Existing Muscat wastewater treatment plants26
Wastewater treatment plants nearing completion26
STPs planned under the Muscat wastewater scheme27
Haya Water’s major contract awards28
Wastewater treatment plants under the Muscat wastewater project28
Muscat monthly wastewater service charges and tariffs29
Network schemes included in the Muscat wastewater project29
Collection of wastewater from septic tanks in Oman30
Existing wastewater treatment plants in Oman31
Ashghal’s drainage department budget32
Ashghal’s selected major contract awards33
Qatar’s total existing wastewater treatment capacity33
Doha North TSE production34
Future wastewater project expansions in Qatar34
Other wastewater infrastructure in Qatar35
Major STPs in Qatar36
Demand for water in Saudi Arabia by sector37
Current network coverage by city in Saudi Arabia38
Total capital expenditure requirement for 100 per cent water and wastewater network coverage38
Saudi cities included in public-private-partnership programme39
Saudi wastewater treatment plant privatisation40
Saudi wastewater statistics41
Existing TSE capacity in Saudi Arabia41
Potential customers for reuse in major Saudi cities42
Major STPs in Saudi Arabia43
Abu Dhabi’s resident population and annual tourist visits44
Abu Dhabi STP capacity and inflow45
Tunnel contract packages46
Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment programme46
Planned spending on Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment programme46
Abu Dhabi’s deep tunnel sewer route47
Wastewater inflows at Al-Aweer48
Overloaded Al-Aweer, 2008 comparisons49
Wastewater inflows at Al-Aweer STP49
Nakheel wastewater treatment projects50
Development of Sharjah Municipality’s drainage facility52
Ajman Sewerage Company organisational structure53
Ajman population53
Revised population forecast for Fujairah concession area54
Revised capacity requirements for Fujairah concession area54
Tanqia STPs in Fujairah emirate55
Selected major UAE contract awards56
Major STPs in the UAE57

Executive summary

Following are some details from the executive summary of the report.

  • The GCC wastewater sector came under severe pressure in the period 2004-08 as strong economic growth, an expanding population base and an upsurge in real estate activity resulted in most utilities facing serious overloading issues due to double-digit increases in sewage inflows.

  • The economic downturn, starting in late 2008, put a brake on the runaway growth and had a major impact on the sector. In the first quarter of 2009, Dubai real estate developers cancelled or reduced in scope a string of sewage treatment plant (STP) projects in response to the property crash, while planned privately backed schemes in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were all hit by the meltdown in the project finance market.

  • However, outside Dubai, where the population is forecast to contract by 10-18 per cent in 2009, the impact on the sector is expected to be temporary. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, the outlook is bright given the high rates of indigenous population growth, while places like Abu Dhabi will up spending as part of a programme to decommission and replace antiquated infrastructure.

  • In the period 2009-15, over 5 million cm/d of new treatment capacity is expected to be added in the GCC, which is well above existing capacity of 4.1 million cm/d. The highest requirements will be in Saudi Arabia followed by the UAE and Kuwait.

  • Based on late 2008 unit costs, the newbuild STP programme is estimated to be worth $9.3bn and over $15bn if the associated network costs are included. However, the cost of building capacity is expected to fall by 20-30 per cent in 2009, as a result of declining material prices and increasing contractor competition, due to declining workloads. The costs reduction will encourage utilities to press ahead with their works programmes again, after serious delays in the final quarter of 2008 and the early 2009 due to the intense uncertainty over cost and in some cases, the future demand outlook.

  • An easing in the project finance market, expected in the second half of the 2009, would revive both Saudi Arabia’s and Bahrain’s plans to introduce the private sector into wastewater treatment sector for the first time. Increased private sector participation will also bring technology issues far more to the fore in the region, which has seen an increase in micro-bioreactor (MBR) usage in recent years.

  • Growing awareness about the value of using treated sewage effluent (TSE) to conserve precious potable water resources will result in utilities edging nearer their 100 per cent reuse targets. In addition to irrigation, TSE will be increasingly used in district and industrial cooling and groundwater aquifer recharge.

  • The introduction of realistic customer tariffs for wastewater, which today are either non existent or well below cost, would help curb demand. However, government will remain reluctant to hike tariffs on their own populations, leaving expatriate residents, especially in places like Dubai, most vulnerable to any increases.

This information is taken from the MEED Insight report GCC Wastewater 2009: The drive for capacity. Gain exclusive insight on GCC market size and potential new opportunities, risk and key industry data from this report. To order your report today, download the order form (PDF) or email MEED Insight for more information, quoting reference WW2.

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