Saudi Arabia’s government plans to spend SR2bn ($533m) on projects to increase water supply in the kingdom’s Mecca region.

The projects, being carried out by the National Water Company (NWC), will enhance capacity by 5.4 million cubic meters in the cities of Mecca, Jeddah and Taif, English daily Arab News quoted local media reports, which cited Mecca Governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal as saying at a meeting of Holy Sites Development Authority.

The kingdom’s Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah al-Hussayen, who is also the chairman of the NWC board, said that the projects will be carried out in three phases. In the first phase, Jeddah will get an additional capacity of 4 million cubic meters at a cost of SR1.5bn.

Water capacity for Taif will be increased by 175,000 cubic meters with additional water storage facilities, which will cost more that SR219m.

NWC also plans to upgrade nine sewage treatment plants serving the three cities, boosting their capacity from 540,000 cubic meters to 1.5 million cubic meters a day.

“We completed the building of the environmental services system in Jeddah for the southern region through the implementation and operation of the Khumrah station, with an increase of 250,000 cubic meters a day,” Al-Hussayen told the meeting.

The company has also doubled the capacity of treatment stations in Mecca. In Taif, it has completed the triple treatment station in Wadi Alarraj after increasing its capacity by 80,000 cubic meters to 147,000 cubic meters, the minister said.