The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) to develop a seawater desalination plant in the emirate of Ajman.

The Al-Zawra independent water project (IWP) will have a capcity of 30 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD), and will be able to supply 250,000 people in the UAE’s Northern Emirates with drinking water. The desalination plant will use reverse osmosis (RO) technology, unlike most of the UAE’s existing desalination capacity, which uses thermal technologies.

The IWP will be owned by Fewa and Taqa, with Fewa having a long-term water purchase agreement. Construction work on the scheme is expected to start in early 2015, with a scheduled commissioning date of 2017.

In September 2010, Fewa awarded a contract to Spain’s Cadagua and local partner Essa Engineering, to build a 10 MIGD reverse-osmosis plant at Al-Zawra. In 2009, Austria’s Aqua Engineering won the contract to build a 7 MIGD desalination plant at the site.