Saudi Arabia

The Arana water treatment plant in Makkah ... operated by Aqualia.

The Arana water treatment plant in Makkah ... operated by Aqualia.


May 2016

FCC Aqualia, a subsidiary of Spain’s FCC Group, has made significant inroads into the regional market, winning the confidence of governments through ground-breaking solutions and its ability to undertake large-scale projects.

The full-cycle water management subsidiary of the Spanish group,  FCC Aqualia’s association with Saudi Arabia began in 2010, when it was awarded a contract to optimise the water supply network in Riyadh.

“It was a major milestone for Aqualia and for Spain, as it signalled the first water management contract awarded to a Spanish company in the Middle East,” says a spokesman for the company.

Its contributions to modernising Saudi Arabia’s water infrastructure have not gone unnoticed: the company was presented with the ‘Award for Water’ as the ‘Best Performer of the Year in the Kingdom’ in its field of specialisation during the recent Saudi Water and Electricity Forum (SWEF).

Riyadh’s governor Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud presented the award to Javier Diaz, manager of FCC Aqualia in Saudi Arabia, at a ceremony held during the forum in the Saudi capital in February this year. The SWEF, which is supported by the Ministry of Water and Electricity, is the key event for the water and electricity industry in Saudi Arabia.

“The award recognises the work carried out by Aqualia over the past five years, which includes the sectioning and leakage project in the city of Riyadh, as well as the operation and maintenance of the wastewater treatment plants in Makkah (Hadda and Arana plants),” explains the spokesman.

The company’s scope of works on the Riyadh project was to locate and repair leakages in the city’s water network in order to improve its potable water supply.

“Its efforts have helped to minimise the number of incidents and increase the efficiency ratio of the network that provides water to a population of six million people,” says the spokesman.

The KSA Aqualia team after receiving the SWEF award as Best Water Performer in the kingdom.

The KSA Aqualia team after receiving the SWEF award as Best Water Performer in the kingdom.

In fact, Aqualia’s knowledge of the networks has helped it secure further works in 2014 and 2015 from other companies that form part of the FCC-led FAST Consortium, which is building three lines of the Riyadh Metro system. These assignments include the modification of the water network layout and the services affected by the construction of the corresponding metro sections.

Meanwhile, its role on the Hadda and Arana wastewater treatment plants – which was also recognised by the SWEF award – involves managing both plants which have a maximum flow capacity of 375,000 cu m. This project – which it has been handling since last year – falls within the framework of a programme being implemented by the Saudi authorities to transform and modernise the country’s water cycle management.

According to the spokesman, Aqualia has been at the forefront in the Middle East in terms of managing major contracts. The region is home to 14 of the 33 most water-stressed countries in the world, he says, citing a 2015 report by the World Resources Institute.

“This makes it one of the least water secure regions in the world. The challenges are so severe that Saudi Arabia, alongside eight other countries, scores 5 out of 5 for water stress,” the spokesman says.

“With a population that has quadrupled to 30 million in 40 years, and is still on the rise, the kingdom and its neighbours are acutely aware of the need for long-term solutions. But with advances in technology and an increasing awareness of water efficiency, a great deal of progress has been made in recent years,” he remarks.

Elsewhere in the region, Aqualia manages a sewerage and purification system in the eastern area of Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

“This commission was the first to be awarded to a Spanish company in the country and includes the operation and maintenance of a wastewater sewerage network stretching more than 2,400 km, with 68 wastewater pumping stations and 19 wastewater treatment plants in the city of Al Ain in the Abu Dhabi emirate and the surrounding areas,” says the spokesman.

In addition to these projects, Aqualia is involved in sewerage system management in Qatar’s Al Dhakhira city. The project, awarded at the end of 2014 for €300 million ($335.7 million), entails the construction of a wastewater treatment plant that will manage an average flow of 56,200 cu m per day and will serve more than 205,000 people.

According to the specialist publication Global Water Intelligence (GWI), the company is the leading Spanish company in its sector, the third largest private water company in Europe and the sixth worldwide. It provides services to 22.5 million users in 1,100 municipal areas in 22 countries. In 2014, the company logged a turnover of €954 million ($1.06 billion).

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