Saudi Arabia is set to continue investing heavily in its water and wastewater sectors in the coming years to meet the demands of its rapidly growing population.
National Water Company (NWC) was established in 2008 to oversee the expansion of the kingdom’s water and wastewater networks to ensure its people have access to water and that their properties are connected to safe and hygienic sewerage networks. NWC will play the central role in coordinating and funding the projects, and is set to spend more than $2bn annually over the next 16 years.
In addition to connecting 1.5 million new homes, which are planned to be built over the next five years, to water and sewage networks, NWC is having to invest heavily to improve existing infrastructure and network coverage. It has outlined a plan to provide sewerage network coverage of more than 90 per cent in Riyadh and 80 per cent of Jeddah by 2015, which will mark increases of 45 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.
NWC is planning to increase the number of cities it is operational in from four to 15 in the next five years. In addition to sewerage projects, it is building multibillion-dollar wastewater plants, reservoirs and is also investing in developing numerous treated sewage effluent schemes.
It is not just residential demand that is driving the Saudi water and wastewater sector. NWC recently signed an agreement with King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy to provide water for their renewable and nuclear energy projects.
The growing demand for infrastructure in the residential and industrial sectors will ensure that investment in the water sector remains a key priority for Riyadh over the next decade.