Water management

Sustainable and technologically advanced

We operate in water-scarce regions, such as the Gulf, where global issues such as climate change, population growth, industrialisation and water waste are likely to increase water scarcity in the future. But heavy dependence on desalination poses sustainability risks in itself, with cost and environmental impacts remaining key concerns. To address these challenges, more than two thirds of our desalination plants use world-class energy-efficient technology, namely seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO). As we grow our capacity, SWRO will be the sole technology used in our desalination plants. This will play a critical part in reducing water production costs significantly and contributing to our sustainability and ESG goals.

In desalination we have achieved an energy consumption reduction of 87% since 2009. We have gone through three phases to accomplish this: The first phase, from 2009 to 2012, entailed moving away from thermal coupling to seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) and this enabled us to reduce the Specific Power Consumption (SPC) from 22 kWh/m3 to 6.5 kWh/m3; the second phase, up until 2017, was a period when we improved our design and operations such that we reduced our SPC to below 4 kWh/m3; during our most recent phase, up until now, the market has experienced significant increases in the price of energy and yet, with our paradigm shift in design, membrane analysis and big data analytics, we have kept the SPC at a level of only 3 kWh/m3. In fact, we have recently launched Taweelah 3 IWP, the very first RO plant partly using renewable energy source and we designed the Rabigh 3 IWP, the first plant in Saudi Arabia to be built on a pressure centre design.

Specific Power Consumption of our desalination plants, kWh/m3

To further our technological improvements in water desalination, ACWA Power collaborates with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The partnership aims to prioritise research in water quality monitoring and system performance modelling using several KAUST research centres.

We continue to improve the measurement and reporting of our water performance by integrating internal reporting systems for water metrics.

Water management