A tender is expected out in March 2003 for the plant, which will utilise either reverse-osmosis or multi-effect distillation technology. The client is also considering options for the scheme’s financing and may invite private developers to carry out the project on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

The plant is intended to stem the depletion of groundwater resources in the Salalah area. The Dhofar region is served by mostly brackish and fossil water sources held in deep underground aquifers that are draining at an unsustainable rate. The government is seeking to appoint a consultant to review the sultanate’s water demand and supply forecasts for the next 10 years.