The contract was signed on 29 April. It is the first time first time the kingdom has awarded a water services contract to a private company. The National Water Company is the client.

The objective of the six-year contract is to reduce leaks in the network, connect residents to the wastewater system, ensure continuous water supply and improve customer service.

Currently, 50 per cent of water pumped into the distribution network is lost as a result of leaks. Only 2 million of Riyadh’s 4.5 million inhabitants are connected to the wastewater network and some parts of the city receive water only once every four days.

Veolia will put together a team of management and operating experts who will oversee water distribution and wastewater collection systems, water production plants, capital investment planning, as well as customer and human resources management. About 4,000 public sector employees will be transferred to the new body (MEED 7:3:08).