ACWA Power Celebrates Excellence of Rabigh 3 IWP in Saudi Arabia, World’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant

  • Rabigh 3 IWP is the first desalination plant of its size in the private sector with 100% Saudi workforce
  • The project has been recognised as the “world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination facility” by the Guinness World Records™
  • The SAR 2.6 billion project which utilises advanced RO technology will supply 600,000 m3/day to more than 1 million households in Makkah Al Mukarramah and Jeddah

Rabigh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, March 31, 2022 Under the patronage of His Excellency Eng. Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen AlFadley, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, ACWA Power, a leading developer, investor and operator of power generation, desalinated water and green hydrogen plants, celebrated Rabigh 3 IWP, the world’s largest desalination plant.

Located in Saudi Arabia, the project was feted in a ceremony which included senior officials from the Ministry, government officials from the Rabigh governorate and executives from the Saudi Brothers Commercial Company and Saudi Water Partnerships Company.

Rabigh 3 meets the clean water needs of one million housing units in Makkah and Jeddah, and ensures a sustainable and reliable supply of water for citizens and residents of these growing cities and its neighbouring villages. This will ensure the water security of many residents, along with pilgrims that this region welcomes during the holy month of Ramadan and the Hajj season. This project is remarkable because it is the largest of its kind using reverse osmosis technology in the world, with a production capacity of 600,000 cubic metres of desalinated water per day, setting a global record in the Guinness World Records™ for its unprecedented capacity. It also brings in investment to the region as the project cost is at SAR 2.6 billion (US$750 million)

His Excellency Eng. Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen AlFadley, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture

Developed with Saudi Brothers Commercial Company (SBCC), Rabigh 3 IWP project is the first desalination plant of its size in the private sector. The project has deployed a 100% Saudi workforce and will continue to create new employment opportunities for local talent. Furthermore, the project will continue to contribute towards enhancing local content capabilities by utilising local manufacturing to meet relevant needs.

Mohammad Abunayyan, ACWA Power Chairman

We extend our sincere gratitude to His Excellency the Minister for his patronage and support of the global achievement of Rabigh 3. This milestone is a result of the strategic goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which outlines the advancement of the water desalination sector in the Kingdom. This project would not have been possible without the government’s support, and the consolidation of partnerships between the public and private sectors, enabling collaborators to achieve pioneering projects in terms of size, cost, efficiency in operation and preservation of the environment. These are projects that have made the whole world watch developments within this country

Mohammad Abunayyan, ACWA Power Chairman

Rabigh 3 IWP is unique compared to other independent water projects in Saudi Arabia. It is the first IWP after the second round of public private partnership when the SWPC became the principal buyer of water.  It is the biggest seawater reverse osmosis plant in the region and first time we put an energy cap of 3.5 kilowatt per hour, which reduces the energy consumption and in turn reduces the entire desalination sectors average tariff by 30-40%, resulting in a reduced overall carbon emission. We have also mandated a local content contribution of 40% for construction and 70% local content for operations. We believe Rabigh 3 IWP is the milestone of change in the desalination sector, and all have followed this outstanding example of innovation

Eng. Khaled Alqureshi, Chief Executive Officer, SWPC

On behalf of the International Desalination Association it’s an honour to attend the opening ceremony of Rabigh 3 IWP, the world’s largest SWRO desalination plant confirmed by the Guinness World Records™. This impressive and flagship project offering a reduced tariff and reduced carbon and environmental footprint sets a new benchmark for the industry. Under the vision of KSA 2030, H.E. Minister Al Fadley, Minister of the Environment, Water, and Agriculture, Eng. Al Qureshi, CEO of SWPC, and Mr. Mohammad Abunayyan, ACWA Power Chairman have solidified the Kingdom’s continued leadership position in large-scale desalination which compliments the forecasted economic development as per Vision 2030. This project also mandates a local content contribution of 40% for construction and 100% Saudization for operations. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 1971 has been the living laboratory of large-scale desalination and keeps shining brightly with innovation in energy strategies and reduction of water production costs. Rabigh 3 IWP is an outstanding example, and we are excited to see the future projects and achievements coming next

Shannon McCarthy, Secretary General of the International Desalination Association

She continued, “The IDA commends ACWA Power, SBCC-SAWACO, and SWPC, three longstanding corporate members the IDA, as well as IDA Corporate Members involved in building this iconic asset; Abengoa, Sidem, SEPCo3, Toray, ROPV, Flowserve, and ERI.”

ACWA Power is a global pioneer in applying reverse osmosis technology towards utility-scale desalination projects. The company commenced its journey with the Shuaibah Expansion IWP launched in the fourth quarter of 2009, supplying 150,000 cubic metres of water per day. This facility was the first project of its kind at the time to deploy reverse osmosis technology with a production capacity at this scale. Since then, ACWA Power has continued to harness reverse osmosis technology and developed its capabilities to maximise production capacities, resulting in the development of the 600,000 cubic metres per day Rabigh 3 IWP.