Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company (NWC) has awarded a water management contract to serve Mecca and Taif to France’s Saur with Saudi Arabia’s Zamil Operations & Maintenance Company (Zomco).

According to sources close to the deal, the Saur bid was selected over a rival submission from Malaysia’s firm Ranhill, India’s Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Company (Jusco), and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Amal Group.

The winning bidders are expected to commence the first phase of the scheme in the third quarter of this year. Although the scope has not been finalised, the contract will mostly involve managing the distribution of water in the two cities.

Saur and Zomco are advised by the local law office of Waleed al-Nuwaiser in association with France’s Gide Loyrette Nouel.

The UK’s Simmons & Simmons is legal adviser to the government in this and the upcoming water management contract tenders in Medina and Dammam (MEED 7:1:10).

A request for proposals for Medina will be issued in September with bids due to be submitted in November. The contract award is scheduled for January 2011.

The request for proposals for the Dammam contract will be issued in May 2011. The deadline for bids is planned for August 2011 and an award is due in October that year.