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Atkins to develop PPP sanitation infrastructure upgrade in Saudi Arabia

The projects will be developed using the BOT/BOO scheme to finance the construction of wastewater treatment facilities. (Image source: Atkins)

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin group, has won an advisory services contract from state-owned National Water Company (NWC) as part of a consortium to provide sustainable sanitation services in Saudi Arabia

Comprising three flagship privatization projects (Jeddah, Dammam, Turaif, Arar, Sakaka), those will improve the current wastewater infrastructure in the cities of Jeddah, Dammam and Northern Border region for more than seven million inhabitants. The consortium is led by financial consultant Mizuho Bank and supported by legal consultant White & Case.

Francois-Xavier Basselot, Atkins? market director for water in the Middle East, said, ?With a strong economic development and a rising population, the current sanitation infrastructure across the Kingdom is not adequate and needs to be expanded. Through these flagship projects, the NWC, with support from the consortium, will bring much-needed improvements to the environment, ecology and public health for the citizens of Saudi Arabia.?

Currently, a low percentage of the wastewater produced in the country is collected by the existing network and treated. The projects will be developed using the build-operate-transfer/build-operate-own (BOT/BOO) scheme to finance the construction of wastewater treatment facilities, where private funds are used to construct and commercially operate a facility before ownership is transferred to a public entity. This is the first privatisation project for NWC.

Atkins will provide advice on public-private collaboration as well as insights on the technical requirements such as the conceptual design of the wastewater treatment plant facilities, environmental impact review and guidance, or procurement and bid evaluation support.

Saudi Arabia has been diversifying and modernising the industrial base of the country in line with the National Transformation Program, Saudi Vision 2030, to be less dependent on petroleum resources. The programme is also aimed at promoting privatisation to reduce public spending.