State water company Societe Nationale de l'Eau (SNDE) has awarded a consortium of Moroccan state water company Office National de l'Eau Potable (ONEP) and France's Societe Canal de Provence (SCP) the contract to provide technical assistance on a $220 million project to supply drinking water to Nouakchott for the next 30 years.
The project aims to boost water supply to the city to 170,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) from 50,000 cm/d. It calls for the construction of a 129,000-cubic-metre reservoir, a 3.1-cubic-metre-a-second drainage pump to divert water from the River Senegal, a water treatment station, water supply networks for people living near the treatment station and a four-pump pumping station and water treatment plant in Nouakchott.The contract is being financed by the Mauritanian government and a number of development banks, including the Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development, the Islamic Development Bank and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.A consortium of SCP, The Associated Engineering Partnership (TAEP) of Kuwait and the local Bureau Africain d'Etudes et de Controle en Mauritanie (Afrecom) was awarded in 1998 a six-year contract to carry out initial design studies on the project. The designs envisaged increasing drinking water supply to the capital to 150,000 cm/d by 2020 and to 225,000 cm/d by 2030.The contract is ONEP's first venture outside the kingdom and is part of the company's strategy to operate internationally in order to share its expertise with countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa. The population of Nouakchott is expected to double in the next 20 years to 1 million inhabitants.