World’s largest reverse osmosis desalination facility opens

April 15, 2022
Ranked as the world's largest reverse osmosis desalination facility by the Guinness World Records, Saudi Arabia's Rabigh 3 IWP has been inaugurated with an opening ceremony.

The world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination facility, the Rabigh 3 IWSP, was inaugurated with an opening ceremony in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia.

The desalination plant, with a capacity of 600,000 m3/day (158 million gallons daily), has been recognized as the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination facility by the Guinness World Records™, the global authority on record-breaking achievements.

According to the International Desalination Association (IDA), the plant is characterized by the highest level of operational efficiency, is the most environmentally friendly desalination plant in the world due to the lowest electricity consumption during day-to-day operations, and has recorded the lowest noise rate.

“The Rabigh 3 Desalination Plant meets the clean water needs of about one million housing units in both Makkah Al-Mukarramah (Mecca) and Jeddah and ensures a sustainable and reliable supply of water to the citizens and residents of the two cities and neighboring villages. Especially during peak demand periods in the holy month of Ramadan and the Hajj season. The investment cost of the station is 2.6 billion Saudi riyals ($750 million U.S. dollars),” stated H.E. Eng. Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. AlFadley, Minister of the Environment, Water, and Agriculture, in a press release.

“Rabigh 3 IWP is unique compared to other IWP’s in Saudi Arabia,” H.E. Eng. Khaled al Qureshi. “It’s the biggest SWRO plant in the region and first time we put an energy cap of 3.5 KWH, which reduces the energy consumption and in turn reduces the entire desalination sectors average tariff by 30-40 percent, resulting in a reduced overall carbon emission. We have also mandated a local content contribution of 40 percent for construction and 70 percent 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”

“This global achievement we are witnessing today is a result of what the ambitious strategic Vision 2030 is tangibly accomplishing in advancing the desalination sector in the Kingdom. The unparalleled efforts of our wise leadership towards driving public-private partnerships enabled the Vision’s goals and aspirations through pioneering projects that globally stood out in terms of size, cost, operational and environmental efficiency. Today, these projects can be benchmarked at a global scale,” said Mohammad Abunayyan, ACWA Power Chairman

“We are very proud to participate in this iconic project in line with KSA vision 2030 and UN SDG goal 6, Water for All. Saudi Brothers (SBCC) is a leader in desalination and established the first private water utility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the year 2000 by SAWACO-Water Desalination,” said Mr. Faisal Al Nowaiser, Member of the Board of Directors of SBCC.

“On behalf of the International Desalination Association, it’s an honor to attend the opening ceremony of Rabigh 3 IWP. This impressive and flagship project offering a reduced tariff and reduced carbon and environmental footprint sets a new benchmark for the industry.

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,” said Shannon K. McCarthy, IDA’s Secretary General. “Rabigh 3 IWP is an outstanding example, and we look forward to seeing more projects and achievements as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to grow.”