15 November 2004 - A new report by the Emirates Industrial Bank indicates that some 35 new water desalination and power projects involving a total investment of Dh40bn ($11bn) are planned in the GCC countries.
The projects, which will be completed by 2015, include 22 desalination plants to be set up in Saudi Arabia alone, according to the study. Arab countries have invested some $40bn so far in the construction of desalination plants. The cost includes operational and maintenance expenses.
Given the increased dependence in the Gulf countries for desalinated water and the steady growth in population, the new projects are vital for the economic growth of the region. Over the years, the AGCC have become one of the top desalinated water consuming regions in the world, accounting for some 672 billion gallons per year.
The GCC countries, which are heavily dependant on desalination stations, are not self sufficient in providing raw materials and spare parts for the projects. With the exception of Saudi Arabia, equipment and spare parts are generally imported from outside the Middle East.