A request for qualifications (RfQ) linked to the establishment of the first Independent Water Project (IPP) on Masirah Island, located off the Sultanate’s eastern seaboard, will be issued during the third quarter of this year, according to Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP).
When operational by early 2023, the new gas-powered water desalination scheme will supplant expensive diesel-powered capacity on the island for the first time. The project will also be the first privately funded, developed and operated water desalination scheme on the island.
According to OPWP, the sole procurer of new power and water capacity under the sector law, the island’s water needs are currently met by a diesel-powered plant operated by the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO), which covers remote areas falling outside of the nation’s two main grids. Potable water supply from RAECO’s 6,000 cubic metres/day capacity plant is supplemented by production from groundwater wells operated by the Public Authority for Water (PAW).
“PAW requested OPWP to initiate the procurement of a new IWP with a capacity of 10,000 m3/d (2.2 million imperial gallons per day MIGD). The RfQ is expected to be released in Q3, 2019 (with the project) to begin commercial operation in Q1 2023,” the procurer stated in its 7-Year Outlook spanning the 2019-2025 timeframe.
Masirah Island, although a wilayat in Al Sharqiyah South Governorate, has its own standalone water network independent of potable water grids on the mainland. Residential growth, coupled with tourism related investment, is expected to boost demand for potable water in the coming years.
“PAW expects the peak demand to grow by 2 per cent per annum in the next seven years driven by the existing and new developments in the area,” said OPWP. “The prospective Masirah IWP would have sufficient capacity to meet water capacity requirements from 2023 onwards, replacing the existing RAECO plant and allowing PAW to discontinue wells production for aquifer recharge,” it added.