Seawater desalination plant set for Kazakhstan

Central Asian country Kazakhstan is looking to desalinate the Caspian Sea as an answer to its water woes...

Caspian Sea

Caspian Sea

Facing deteriorating and underfunded water infrastructure, central Asian country Kazakhstan is looking to desalinate the Caspian Sea as an answer to its water woes.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies and Kazyna Capital Management to address how private sector participation can help to deliver a 125,000 m3/day project.

Although landlocked by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the south west part of the country runs alongside the Caspian Sea.

To be located in Aktau, the proposed plant will supply water to industries and the population of Aktau and Zhanaozen, the two main cities in the oil province of the Manghystau.

Veolia will work with the Kazakhstan Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Centre to start work on the project.

While rich in oil, Kazakhstan lacks water resources, particularly for rural households. It was in 2012 when President Nursultan Nazarbayev identified water shortages as a key global challenge, as part of the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy.

According to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), before Kazakhstan’s independence, an estimated 80% of all rural villages had piped potable water supply.

Due to financial difficulties following the independence, the coverage was officially reported at 40%, although in reality, it might be less with systems that were still working deteriorating rapidly.

ADB estimates that the average volume of drinking water delivered to the population has been diminishing at the rate of 3%-5% a year due to the continued decline in the condition of the existing infrastructure.

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