By Medhat Shahidi
According to Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al Hussayen, the strategic plan for water treatment plants has been completed as part of a wider national water plan.
According to this initiative all treatment plants will be privatized gradually to improve the management of these facilities and develop the organizational structure.
The scheme also aims to attract local and international investors into this sector.
The policy is part of a general framework to privatize the water sector in the kingdom,
An approval has already been obtained to restructure the water reserves sector, water distribution sector and sewage treatment plants and transform it into a shareholding company owned by the government that will provide services on a commercial basis.
SWCC Governor, Fehaid Al Sharief, said the company is considering three options to privatize the group, all of which have been sent to the Supreme Economic Council for consideration.
One of the options is transforming the SWCC into a holding company which will have overall supervisory authority and will own shares in other affiliated firms.
The proposed holding company will also supervise research, training and transportation in these firms.
Another option is to have a complete holding company, while the third option is to diversify into regional companies, which would be wholly-owned by the SWCC.
The managing board of SWCC has recommended the second option for its suitability and universal application. The board say that it would be better for the group to be a holding company and supervise and own affiliated production firms in Jubail, Yanbu, Al Shuabah and Al Shaqeeq.
The remaining phases of the privatization programme, to include the private sector in the production firms, is similar to what has been done in with the Independent Water and Power Projects in the kingdom.
Al Sharief added that Yanbu will be the first plant to be privatized.
Management units have already been connected to the new Planning and Development Sector.
A human resources department has also been established, as has an independent rehabilitation management section.
According to a report by the Ministry of Water, a SR1bn surplus has been recorded out of a total budget of SR7.5bn.
The report added that 90% of water networks in the kingdom have been covered.
SWCC further announced that the biggest ship water tanker in the world has arrived in Al Shuabah with a capacity of 50,000 cubic metres per day. It will serve Jeddah, Taif and Mecca.
A new digital distribution system will be launched in Al Khubar at a cost of SR93.5m.
The system will also include production and storage management initiatives.
The system is also connected to the SWCC network.
Wednesday, July 16- 2008 @ 12:32 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.