Saudi Arabia is the world's largest desalination water producer with a daily output of more than 600 million gallons. In 2004 alone, the Kingdom's 30 plants supplied over one billion cubic metres of water and 22,000-million megawatt/hour electricity.
The water and electricity ministry has set out a strategy to privatise water and sewage projects in the Kingdom within the next five years. Desalination plants meet 70 per cent of the country's drinking water requirement.
According to the Central Statistics Department, the Kingdom's total population will exceed 29 million by 2010 and rise to 36.4 million 10 years later.
Taking a baseline consumption of 300 litres per person per day, the resulting demand for water would increase to over 3,000 million cubic metres annually by 2010 and nearly 4,000 million cubic metres by 2020.
''The total value of the contracts for implementing the six desalination plants will reach SR709.13 million,'' SPA quoted Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al Hussayen, as saying.
The minister is also chairman of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), which currently runs 30 desalination plants on the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf coasts.
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