The National Water Company "NWC" announced on Wednesday, September 14, that it signed two contracts with the private sector to operate water and environmental treatment services in the Western and Northern clusters. The total amount of the two contracts between NWC and the two alliances is more than 714 million Saudi Riyals.
Engr. Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al Fadhli, the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture "MEWA", Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Water Company "NWC", sponsored the signing ceremony of the two contracts between Engr. Nemer bin Mohammed Al-Shebel, interim CEO of the National Water Company with representatives of the Saudi-French consortium of Al-Awael Modern Contracting Company (Alawael) and (SUEZ) Group to manage operation and maintenance of the Western Cluster (Makkah Region and its governorates) at 365 million Saudi Riyals. The second contract was concluded with representatives of the Saudi-Spanish consortium of International Water Distribution Company (TAWZEA), Haji Abdullah Alireza & Co. Ltd., and FCC Aqualia to manage operation and maintenance of the Northern Cluster (Qassim, Hail, Al-Jouf, and Northern Borders regions) at an amount exceeding 349 million Saudi Riyals.
After signing the contracts, Engineer Nemer bin Mohammed Al-Shebel, interim CEO of NWC said "One of the most important pillars of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 is the well-being of citizens and the quality of the services provided to them, from which the National Water Strategy 2030 emerged, through which it adopted the strategy of the National Water Company, which developed detailed plans to upgrade water services in the Kingdom, with participation of the private sector."
Al-Shebel added "With this signature, NWC has completed Phase I of the distribution sector as per the National Strategy of Water Sector approved by the Council of Ministers. The strategy includes integrating water directorates under NWC and signature of the management contracts for the six clusters. Afterwards, NWC prepare for the coming Phase of private sector engagement i.e. concession contracts".
He indicated that the privatization contracts would contribute to boost projects implementation in a regulatory and investment environment that attracts and promotes investment on the short and long terms. He added that privatization contracts would upgrade services quality and completeness, efficiency and upgrading management of the assets relevant to water projects, as well as increasing job opportunities and optimal operation of the national cadres.
Al-Shebel continued to say that the contracts of privatizing the water sector is a most important promoter of international investment in Saudi Arabia. They will ensure localization of successful world experiences in managing water and sanitation services in Saudi Arabia".
He pointed out that the contracts depend on achieving 14 key indicators that each consortium must achieve. The most important of which are: improving the customer experience and developing it, raising operational efficiency through cost rationalizing, reducing water loss, and improving network management. He pointed out that the duration of the contract is 7 years, and if the targets are achieved after the third year of it, and the readiness of the sector is increased, this will enable the national water company to move directly to the stage of concession contracts in which the private sector will take full responsibility for water services, without waiting for the seven years to end.