The government of Saudi Arabia has commissioned the construction of the world's largest desalination plant, according to the state-owned Saudi Press Agency, which quoted Abdullah Al-Hussayen, the country's minister of water and electricity. The facility is expected to produce more than one million cubic meters of desalinated water (264 million gallons) and 2,600MW of electricity daily.
The $7.2 billion facility will be located in the Ras Al Khair Industrial City and is predicted to create 15,000 jobs. The desalination plant will supply about 800,000 cubic meters of freshwater to Riyadh city and another 100,000 cubic meters will reach the Al Washm, Sudair, Majma, Al Zulfi and Al Ghat regions. A further 100,000 cubic meters will be delivered to regions located north of the Eastern Province, including Hafar Al Batin, Qaisoomah and Qaryat Al Olya.
Desalination is already a well established method in Saudi Arabia. In fact, the country is the largest producer of desalinated water globally and the Saudi government is placing great importance on desalination projects as part of its strategy to meet drinking water demand from the rapidly rising population, which has soared fourfold to 30 million people in four decades. This year alone, the government has set aside $4.4 billion for desalination projects. Water projects with a wider scope are planned, as the government also intends to give a boost to the kingdom's energy industry, Bloomberg noted.