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Eye of Riyadh
Eye of Riyadh
Technology & IT | Thursday 19 February, 2015 3:18 pm |
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GE Unveils White Paper to Help Meet Growing Demand for Water in Saudi Arabia

GE (NYSE: GE) will unveil an industry white paper on ‘Addressing Water Scarcity in Saudi Arabia: Policy Options for Continued Success,’ at the Water Arabia 2015 Conference & Exhibition being held at Le Meridien Hotel in Al Khobar from February 17 to 19, 2015.

The white paper highlights four major water reuse policy options to governments including education and outreach, removing barriers, incentives, and mandates and regulation. GE is also showcasing its advanced range of desalination and water reuse technologies at the exhibition.

Organized by the Saudi Arabian Water Environment Association (SAWEA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Arabia 2015 Conference & Exhibition is the headlining event in the region, which hosts international and regional experts who discuss the challenges, opportunities and trends in the water sector. This year, the theme is ‘Innovative & Reliable Water and Wastewater Technologies for Sustainable Water Quality.’

Co-authored by Colin Enssle, Senior Manager — Water and Process Technologies for GE Power & Water, and Jon Freedman, Global Government Affairs Leader— Water and Process Technologies for GE Power & Water, the white paper presents the water reuse landscape in the Kingdom, the water reuse policy and regulations, a range of technology options to address water reuse challenges and success case studies from markets including Bahrain. It will be presented by Jon Freedman to industry experts and governmental officials on Feb. 18, at Water Arabia 2015 Conference & Exhibition.

Heiner Markhoff, President & CEO - Water and Process Technologies for GE Power & Water, said: “GE’s industry white paper, developed following extensive research of the Kingdom’s water landscape, underlines our commitment to support Saudi Arabia in promoting water reuse, one of the strategies being adopted by the government to address increased demand. One of the challenges in implementing efficient water recycling and reuse programs is to find reliable data and information on policy options. The white paper presents strong policy options that are available to governments as well as how advanced technology platforms can help achieve the goal.”

According to research reports, Saudi Arabia aims to increase water reuse to more than 65 percent by 2020 and over 90 percent by 2040 by transforming its existing and planned wastewater treatment assets into source water suppliers across all sectors. Valued at over US$4.3 billion by Global Water Intelligence, the Kingdom’s water reuse market is the third largest in the world. Over US$66 billion in long-term capital investments have been committed for water and sanitation projects in the Kingdom in the next 10 years, while the government aims to achieve 100 percent reuse of wastewater from cities with 5,000 inhabitants or more by 2025.


“Our recommendations complement the recently launched National Water Strategy to address Saudi Arabia’s water challenges. With overall water reuse from treated wastewater at an impressive 30 to 40 percent, the Kingdom has tremendous potential to enhance water reuse by over seven times to 241 million cubic meters per year,” added Jon Freedman.

The white paper highlights the water reuse patters in the Kingdom with agriculture accounting for the highest, followed by landscaping, industries and recreational purposes. GWI reports water reuse will increase at a CAGR of 4 percent from 2,367 million cubic meters per day to 5,834 million cubic meters per day in 2035.

Water reuse is promoted in the Kingdom through governmental decrees as well as the active participation of the private sector. The 9th Development Plan aims to increase treated wastewater reuse to 50 percent as one of its key goals. A new water law, establishing a Supreme Council for Water Affairs and an independent regulator for water resources and water services, and creating a water management department at the Ministry of Water & Electricity, are among the projected policy goals in the sector for this year.

“GE’s white paper highlights the ambitious initiatives already taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in promoting water reuse, and discusses four policy options that could serve as a valuable starting point to evaluate the appropriate mix of policies that best fit the Kingdom’s needs, going forward,” said Jon Freedman

The first recommendation on promoting education and outreach focuses on recognition awards and certification programs as well as information dissemination and educational outreach. Removing barriers highlights how financial, regulatory, and technical barriers can be addressed to strengthen water reuse. Incentives as a policy option evaluates the scope of direct subsidies, pricing mechanisms and structuring water rights, while mandates and regulation restrict potable water to human and food-related uses, as well as encouraging utility companies to develop plans for recycled water.

At Water Arabia 2015, GE is presenting a range of technology options that are highlighted in the white paper including membrane-based systems and advanced chemistries for 70 to 85 percent recovery, thermal evaporation, crystallization and biological systems for 98 percent recovery and state-of-the-art wastewater recovery systems.

With a strong industry track record in delivering over 800 million liters of water for drinking, irrigation and municipal uses across the Middle East & North Africa, GE has been closely associated with the region’s water industry. The GE Saudi Water & Process Technology Center in Dammam and GE Water & Process Technologies Regional Center of Excellence in Jebel Ali in the UAE, are among key regional investments by the company in supporting the industry and meeting the growing demand for water.

GE delivers drinking water to about 1 million people in Algiers daily, through the Hamma Desalination Plant, one of the largest membrane desalination facilities in Africa, and also provides advanced technologies for the world’s largest wastewater treatment plan in Sulaibiya in Kuwait. The Sulaibiya plant is now set to become the world’s largest-of-its-kind facility that uses membrane technology following an agreement with GE to drive its expansion.
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