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Wadi Dayqah water project to go ahead this year

MUSCAT, JULY 1 - An ambitious plan to harness the prodigious water capacity of the Wadi Dayqah reservoir in Muscat Governorate is back on track, with the state-owned Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) set to launch an international competitive tender for this unique project. Envisaged is an Independent Water Project (IWP) of a capacity ranging from 90,000 to 125,000 cubic metres /day (equivalent to 20 – 27.5 million imperial gallons per day MIGD) that will tap the Wadi Dayqah reservoir — the largest surface water resource in the Sultanate — to supply potable and irrigational water to parts of the capital area.

“This project is designed as a dual-purpose facility to take water from the Wadi Dayqah reservoir for both agricultural and potable water supply,” said OPWP in its newly published ‘7-Year Statement’ providing projections of electricity and water sector demand in the Sultanate over the 2018-2024 timeframe. “It will include an RO (reverse osmosis) plant to provide for potable water. The capacity for potable water supply will be 67,000 m3/d, though this may be increased for short-term emergencies subject to irrigation requirements,” OPWP, the sole procurer of all new power generation and water desalination capacity, noted.

A Request for Qualifications (RfQ) from interested investors and developers is expected to be issued in the third quarter of this year, according to OPWP. Commercial operation is envisioned in the first quarter of 2021. Significantly, the Wadi Daqyah IWP is one of several water schemes planned for procurement over the 2018-2024 timeframe. The largest is a 300,000 m3/day (66 MIGD) capacity IWP planned at Ghubrah in Muscat Governorate. The procurement process for the Ghubrah III IWP, as it is called, is already underway, with commercial operation slated in Q1 2022.

Also in the pipeline is a new IWP in North Al Batinah Governorate of around 150,000 m3/day (33 MIGD) capacity. The plant is scheduled to come into operation in 2023. At Barka, already a major hub for water desalination, OPWP plans to procure around 101,000 m3/day (22 MIGD) of new capacity for launch in Q1 2022. One option is to invite the project owners of Barka IWPP, whose supply agreement is set to expire in 2021, to bid for an extension. “If the proposed contract extension does not meet OPWP’s economic purchase standard, then OPWP will initiate procurement of new capacity, beginning with RFQ issue in Q2 2018, for COD (commercial operation date) in Q1 2022,” said the procurer.

Masirah Island will host its first Independent Water Project — a 10,000 m3/day (2.2 MIGD) capacity plant expected to come on stream in Q1 2023. OPWP aims to issue a Request for Qualifications (RfQ) for this project before the end of this year. Water desalination capacity in Dhofar Governorate is proposed to be ramped up via the addition of a new project, dubbed Dhofar Water 2023. “OPWP has initiated a study for the Dhofar Water 2023 project, which may have a capacity of 100,000 m3/d (22 MIGD), subject to MoF (Ministry of Finance) and regulatory approvals. The required commercial operation date may be around 2023, which would imply that initial procurement stages would begin in Q4 2018,” the procurer added.

Conrad Prabhu

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