Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture and Chairman of Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC), Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A AlFadley signed the water purchase agreement (WPA) for the 600,000 cubic metres/day (m3/day) Rabigh-4 Independent Water Plant (IWP) project.

The project will be located in the Western Province, 180 kilometres north of Jeddah, and south of Rabigh city, on the Red Sea coast, and mainly serve the regions of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah.

The agreement was signed with the representatives of the winning consortium of ACWA Power, Haji Abdullah Alireza & Co (HAACO) and Al Moayyed Contracting Group (AMCG), according to report by the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Wednesday.

The consortium’s selection as preferred bidder was reported by Zawya Projects in February 2023.

SPA quoted SWPC’s CEO Khaled Z AlQureshi as saying that the Rabigh 4 IWP, which will use reverse osmosis technology, is expected to start commercial operations in the first quarter of 2026.

ACWA Power said in a stock exchange statement on Wednesday that the 25-year WPA was signed between SWPC and the project company Rawabi Water Desalination Company. The statement put the contract value at 2.54 billion Saudi riyals ($677 million).

In a subsequent press statement, ACWA Power said the financial close for the project is expected during the third quarter of 2023. 

The company currently operates Rabigh 3 IWP in the area with the same capacity as Rabigh 4, the statement noted, adding that Rabigh 3 was recognised last year as the World’s Largest Reverse Osmosis Desalination plant by the Guinness World Records.

Rabigh 4 IWP is the eighth desalination project to be developed in partnership with the private sector since the Saudi National Water Strategy was launched in 2017.

(Writing by Anoop Menon; Editing by Bhaskar Raj)