Saudi Arabia is one of the most arid countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and its freshwater resources are rapidly depleting. The country has a population of 26.1 million and continues to grow at a rate of 1.53 per cent. Urban centres account for approximately 82 per cent of the total population and the rate of urbanisation is approximately 2.5 per cent (2005-2010). To meet the water demands of this escalating population and improve water connectivity, the government is looking at viable options such as desalination and infrastructure development.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (environmental.frost.com), Assessment of the Water and Wastewater Sector in Saudi Arabia, finds that the market earned revenues of USD 1.94 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach USD 3.66 billion in 2015.
The frenetic pace of development has attracted participation and investments from the private sector. Despite the political unrest in the Middle East, the government's allocation of substantial funds towards water and wastewater projects has assuaged foreign and private investors' concerns to some extent.
The water infrastructure in Saudi Arabia is better than in other MENA countries, but the government still needs to adopt best practices to better manage water resources and meet international standards.
The government charges only about only 25 cents (10 halalas) per cubic meter of water, even though the cost of water production per cubic meter is around USD 2.6- USD 4.0 (SR10 to SR 15). This translates to higher per capita consumption.
With a proper water ministry in place, the legislation or regulations are expected to become stringent. The authorities hope to achieve complete water coverage throughout the country with the enforcement of the National Water Law and by-laws and further investments as part of its Ninth Development Plan.
"The National Water Company (NWC) is planning to invest USD 23.00 billion in Saudi Arabia's sewage collection and treatment infrastructure over the next 20 years," said Frost & Sullivan Environment and Building Technologies Analyst. "This investment aims to increase wastewater network coverage to 100.0 per cent from the current 45 per cent."
Large industries and municipalities mostly outsource the water and wastewater treatment plant services as they can afford the high capital and operational costs. Due to low product differentiation, market participants tend to resort to competitive pricing to standout in the market.
Customers in Saudi Arabia are highly price sensitive but expect treatment systems to be fully compliant to their needs. They also look for prompt after-sales service and technical support.
"Reliability and efficiency are the other key factors considered by end users while choosing water and wastewater equipment suppliers," noted Frost & Sullivan Analyst. "Further, a company that provides complete solution and lowers the operational cost to the end user will occupy the central position in the market."
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Assessment of the Water and Wastewater Sector in Saudi Arabia is part of the Environmental Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: Water and Wastewater Treatment Equipment Market and Water and Wastewater Distribution Network Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Assessment of the Water and Wastewater Sector in Saudi Arabia / P543-15
Nimisha Iyer, Corporate Communications - Middle East, North Africa and South Asia
P: +91.98200 50519 / F: +91.22.2832 4713 - E: niyer[.]frost.com.