Oman plans to build three desalination plants at a cost of about $400 million to meet the desert country's growing demand for water, a government official said.
The three plants will be built in Duqm, Sur and Sohar, an official close to the project told Reuters, estimating Oman's water consumption is rising 5 percent annually.
"The desalination plants will meet the growing population and project development requirements," said the official, who declined to be identified because he is not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.
"We expect the three projects to be built at a total cost of $400 million."
Oman's daily demand for water is expected to grow by around 29 percent to 269 million cubic metres by 2018, according to a report from state-owned Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP).
Oman is turning Duqm, a sleepy fishing village in the central part of the country, into an industrial city and is building a port, airport and petrochemical projects, including a 230,000 barrels-per-day refinery.
Sohar, in the north-west, is already home to a port, refinery, aluminium smelter and an iron palletising plant, with the city's airport due to be completed in 2014.
The government has increased spending by an average of 7 percent a year since 2008, of which roughly 40 percent is used to fund development projects.
Oman's population of roughly 3 million people, including expatriates, is growing at about 3 percent per year, according to official data.