Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company (NWC) is to issue a tender for the contract to manage water networks in Mecca and Taif on 12 December, in line with its previous commitments.

The company’s senior manager Nasser Al Aamry announced the date at MEED’s Middle East Wastewater Treatment and Reuse 2009 conference in Abu Dhabi on 8 December.

In October, an NWC source had indicated to MEED that the tender would be issued in early December (MEED 23.10.09).

The public-private partnership (PPP) scheme is one of three in the country, and between them will cover five cities. A contract for Medina and a separate contract for Dammam and Khobar will follow, but no date has been finalised for those tenders.

NWC has prequalified 11 groups to bid for all the contracts. They include France’s Veolia Water; Spain’s Agbar with the local Water & Environmental Services Company; France’s Saur with the local Zamil Operations & Maintenance Company; Germany’s Gelsenwasser with Saudi Services Company; and Spain’s Aqualia.

Other prequalified groups include the UK’s United Utilities with Saudi Pan Kingdom Company; a UAE/German joint venture of Metito Berlinwasser with Saudi Masader Company for Water & Power; Spain’s Acciona Agua with Malaysia’s YTL Power International and the UK’s Wessex Water; and Malaysia’s Ranhill Utilities with India’s Jamshedpur Utility & Services Company and the local Aamal Group.

NWC has also prequalified the local Miahona, a subsidiary of Acwa Power Development, as part of two groups. The first group also includes Malaysia’s Puncak Niaga and the UK’s Severn Trent Services International and is only eligible to bid for the Mecca and Taif contract. The second group, which includes only Severn Trent Services International can bid for the Dammam and Khobar contract.