Joint venture wins Tunisian desalination plant deal

17 June 2014

Spanish firms will build desalination plant in southeastern Tunisia

A joint venture of FCC Aqualia, a subsidiary of Spain’s FCC, and Spain’s Inima, a subsidiary of South Korea’s GS, has been awarded contracts to build a desalination plant in Tunisia.

Each partner’s contract is worth about $95m. The desalination plant will have a capacity of about 50 cubic metres a day (cm/d) of drinking water, which will supply the 150,000 population of Djerba, in southeastern Tunisia.

The project will also include the construction of intake and brine discharge systems, a plant to remove iron from well water, a drinking water pumping station and the supply and installation of 23.7 kilometres of mains to connect with the existing water grid. The marine and civil engineering works will enable future expansion of the plant of up to 75,000 cm/d.

The client for the project is Sonede, Tunisia’s national water agency, and is being jointly financed by German development bank, KfW, and the France’s Agency for Development.

The project is part of Tunisia’s efforts to upgrade and expand its desalination and wastewater sectors.

Austria’s Wabag was recently awarded two contracts worth a total of $12m for water projects in Tunisia.

For the first project, the firm will design and build the 14,000 cm/d Gafsa wastewater treatment plant. The facility will be designed to utilise biogas produced from the sludge process to produce electricity in two combined heat and power plants.

For the second scheme, Wabag will build a drinking water treatment plant at the northern town of Bizerte. The plant will treat 12,100 cm/d of water from a nearby reservoir. It is scheduled to become operational in the summer of 2015.

In March, the Washington-based World Bank announced it is planning to give $1.2bn of aid to Tunisia to be used for government reform, creating jobs, promoting trade and improving infrastructure in the country. Part of the loan will be given to the National Water Authority to build a pumping station in Tunis.

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