Adopting a privatization model for Saudi Arabia’s water sector will add to its development, attract investors, reduce costs and also help in achieving operational excellence, confirmed Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) Governor Abdullah Al Abdul Karim.
The upcoming period will witness privatization gaining traction in the Saudi water sector, Abdul Karim revealed in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.
He added that this will attract investors and that the Kingdom is working on allocating production bundles at SWCC.
“The Supervisory Committee for Privatization of the Environment, Water, and Agriculture Sector has approved the model for privatizing the corporation by separating production assets from transportation,” said Abdul Karim, adding that the scheme was also given the green light by the Council of Ministers.
Founding the Water Transmission and Technologies Co. (WTTCO) was a key step in developing the Kingdom’s water sector and enhancing its contribution to social and economic progress, noted the governor.
WTTCO is poised to play a strategic role in raising the efficiency and reliability of services, enhancing supply security and reducing costs, Abdul Karim asserted, pointing out that the shift towards privatization is an essential part of initiatives launched to realize the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
Water transmission networks in Saudi Arabia stretch over thousands of kilometers nationwide and deliver over 7.2 million cubic meters of desalinated water daily.
“Advanced and integrated water grids in the country currently cover 8,400 km and are responsible for transmitting over 7.2 million cubic meters of desalinated water daily,” said Abdul Karim, revealing that an expansion of around 2,900 km is underway.
The addition aims to serve beneficiaries and achieve the objectives of the water supply and demand plan in Saudi Arabia.
“WTTCO will also work with other partners in the sector, under ministerial supervision, to implement and achieve the goals of the national water strategy on raising the efficiency of the supply chain,” said Abdul Karim, who is also chairman of WTTCO.
Undertaking management and operation tasks at water transmission and backup and storage systems in the Kingdom, WTTCO will pursue developing new technologies and human resources.
“Operating on a commercial basis will enable WTTCO to raise the efficiency and reliability of service delivery by improving performance, boosting the effectiveness of system management and optimizing the use of assets,” noted Abdul Karim, adding that this will ensure service sustainability and enhance supply security.
WTTCO operates within an integrated system. It is closely linked to relevant authorities in the sector and enjoys a strong relationship with producers and distributors of desalinated water. This ensures the smooth flow of operations and production.
As for how privatizing the water sector will aid in achieving the national plan for transformation and economic diversification, Abdul Karim said that the process is aligned with key objectives of Vision 2030.
“The initiative to privatize SWCC is an essential part of privatization program set to achieve Kingdom Vision 2030.”
“It aims to raise the level of services, encourage private sector participation, reduce the financial burden on the state, develop the sector and raise the level of local content,” he explained.