MUSCAT, JULY 8 – Masirah Island’s first Independent Water Project (IWP) — designed, financed, constructed, operated and maintained entirely by the private sector — is slated to come into operation by the first quarter of 2023 — an investment that underscores the Island’s growing strategic and economic importance. A Request for Qualifications (RfQ) — marking the first step in a competitive tendering process — is expected to be issued before the end of this year, according to Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the sole procurer of new power and water capacity under the Sector Law.
“The Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) has requested OPWP to procure an IWP to provide a capacity of 10,000 m3/d (equivalent to 2.2 million imperial gallons per day MIGD) at Masirah Island in the Governorate of South Al Sharqiyah,” said OPWP in its newly published 7 Year Statement for the 2018-2024 timeframe. When operational in another four years, Masirah’s inhabitants will receive potable water for the first time from a green-field, privately funded water desalination plant, supplanting supplies from small reverse osmosis (RO) plants and wells operated by PAEW. The Island falls under the Sharqiyah Zone, an area that is not connected to the water grid serving large parts of the northern half of Oman.
Demand for potable water in the Sharqiyah Zone is projected to grow at the rate of about 6 per cent annually over the next seven years. Part of this growth will be met by privately funded water schemes due to come into operation in the coming years.
It includes the Aseelah Temporary IWP which is shortly due to come on stream with a capacity of 10,000 cubic metres / day (2.2 MIGD). Awarded to Muscat Water LLC in January 2016, the Temporary IWP will operate until 2021 under the current contract with OPWP, but has the option for a contract renewal for a further two years.
Yet another privately funded project under development is Aseelah IWP, awarded in December 2017 to Al Asilah Desalination Company. The 80,000 cubic metres/d (17 MIGD) capacity plant is expected to begin commercial operation in April 2021. On its heels will come the proposed IWP on Masirah Island with the commercial operation date (COD) slated for early 2023. The bulk of the Sharqiyah Zone’s potable water needs are presently met by the Sur II IWP, owned and operated by Sharqiyah Desalination Company under an agreement signed with OPWP. Sur II IWP has contracted capacity of 131,000 cubic metres/d (29 MIGD) and includes a recent 48,000 m3/d expansion, which was completed in 2017.