French firm Veolia officially inaugurated Kuwait’s Al-Zour South desalination plant in the presence of Kuwait and French ministers on 27 January 2015.

Veolia won the design, build, operate contract for Al-Zour South desalination plant, worth $190m, with local partners Al-Ghanim International in 2011.

The reverse osmosis (RO) plant has a capacity of 136,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d), and came online in July 2014. It makes up the 25 per cent of the total water treatment capacity at Al-Zour site, currently 659,700cm/d.

The plant will be operated and maintained by Veolia for a period of five years, or until 2019.

Unusually, the plant will desalinate water coming from the cooling system of the adjacent power station. The water will be chlorinated and at a higher temperature, resulting in capital expenditure and energy savings during the life cycle of the plant.

Veolia is also a subcontractor on the Al-Zour North Independent Water and Power Project (IWPP). The tender process for the plant suffered multiple delays, eventually taking four years and prompting reform of the 2010 public-private partnership law.

However, the company remains optimistic about the legal changes and future projects in Kuwait.

“Kuwait is aware that, compared to the region, they are a little behind on infrastructure projects, but they have the financial resources and political will to fill the gap,” says Xavier Joseph, Veolia’s CEO for Gulf Countries. “They are on the right track with the reforms. They have found a better way of governance, whereas before it was a little complicated.”

The executive regulations are due to be released in February 2015. Following this, the Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP – formerly the Partnership Technical Bureau) will be able to move forward with other planned IWPPs.