Qatar spent an estimated $10bn in water projects, the second largest in MENA’s water project market, during the 2011-2018 period. A series of major water projects to construct storage reservoirs, water pipelines, desalination plants, and water treatment plants, led to a boom in water and wastewater projects in Qatar in 2014 and 2015 and contracts worth $6.6bn were awarded in these two years.
The MEED MENA Water & wastewater 2019 market outlook noted Qatar increased water and wastewater project spending every year between 2011 and 2015, driven by a series of major projects including the Kahramaa’s water security mega reservoir, the construction of an Independent Water & Power Project (IWPP) in the Qatar Economic Zone (QEZ) and the Ras Abu Fontas (RAF) A3 Desalination Plant.
However, spending slowed significantly in 2016, when only $671m-worth of contracts were awarded. The year 2017 did not show any improvement whatsoever. The project spending increased marginally in 2018 and as a result, projects worth $524m were awarded.
In the 2011-18 period, water pipeline was the most valuable sector in the MENA region, with a total spend of $17.9bn representing 27.5 percent of total project awards value. The second biggest sector was water treatment plants, with $13.6bn, and largely driven by countries expanding water treatment capacity including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, and Iraq.
Although spending on water desalination plants in the region has increased over the years, the sector still ranks third, with contract awards totaling $13.1bn during the review period.
Project awards picked up significantly in 2018. About $9.9bn-worth of EPC contracts were signed in the water and wastewater sector across the MENA region by the end of 2018, a 31 percent rise over contract awards in full-year 2017. Qatar witnessed a significant rise in water and wastewater project contract awards in 2018.
The expansion of cities and the requirements of growing populations are driving a surge in demand for water supply and wastewater treatment capacity. In the GCC, demand for water is set to rise by about 62 percent by 2025, according to new research by MEED. Demand growth on this scale necessitates significant capital investment in new capacity, said Richard Thompson, Editorial Director, MEED
He said about $80bn-worth of water and wastewater projects are currently planned or underway across the GCC alone. But in a fiscal environment where governments are working hard to minimize budget deficits and debt levels, it is no longer enough to simply increase capacity.
A multi-pronged approach is required that will ensure sustainable development, both from a fiscal and an environmental point of view, he added.