“We have not issued prequalifications for the potable water treatment plant and the tendering procedure for the project will be suspended for a while,” says Mohamed Tarek, technical manager at the PPP unit in the ministry.

According to the original timetable for the project, prequalification documents should have been issued by the end of February. This has not happened and a new date for the release of the documents has not yet been determined.

The decision to delay the project is intended to give companies bidding for another PPP project, a wastewater treatment plant in New Cairo, the opportunity to also participate in the 500,000 cubic-metre-a-day potable water plant. Many of the companies are thought to be interested in both schemes.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, is managing the bidding process for the potable water project. The US’ CH2M Hill is the technical adviser and French law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel is the legal consultant.

The plant will be built on a build-operate-transfer basis under a 20-year concession. The successful bidder will design, construct, finance, operate and manage the new plant.

The client for both projects is the Housing, Utilities & Urban Development Ministry, represented by the New Urban Communities Authority. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) Central Unit is providing technical assistance (MEED 4:2:08).