Skip to content

Municipal Desalination Plant of the Year

For the desalination plant, commissioned during 2016, that represents the most impressive technical or ecologically sustainable achievement in the industry.

Yanbu 3, Saudi Arabia

What is it?

A 550,000m³/d multi-stage flash (MSF) plant serving the Medina region of Saudi Arabia.

Who is involved?

The plant was designed, built and commissioned by Korean contractor Doosan, on behalf of its client, the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC). Following commissioning, the plant will be operated by SWCC.

What makes it special?

Doosan’s mastery of thermal desalination technology resulted in a plant which amply demonstrates that MSF can still compete on a global scale, despite being one of the oldest desalination technologies still in mass operation. By relentlessly pushing up the size of MSF units, the company has gone a long way to keeping the physical footprint of some of the world’s largest desalination plants under control.

Deft work during the delivery process avoided a potential pitfall when problems arose with the completion of a neighbouring power plant that was meant to drive the desalination facility. Doosan ensured timely delivery of the desalination plant by adapting the auxiliary boiler to produce the necessary steam required to run the MSF units.


Tight collaboration on design and commissioning resulted in the flawless delivery of a valuable asset that will ensure the smooth transition of the plant into the portfolio of the world’s largest desalination company. It will go a long way to meeting rapidly rising local water demand from the growing numbers of pilgrims to Mecca.


Az-Zour North 1, Kuwait

What is it?

A 486,400m³/d multiple effect distillation plant in Kuwait. The first privately owned desalination plant in the country, it forms the water desalination element of the first stage of the Az-Zour North independent power and water project.

Who is involved?

The desalination plant was delivered by EPC contractor Sidem (Veolia) on behalf of the plant’s owner, a consortium comprising Engie (17.5%), Sumitomo (17.5%), A.H. Al-Sagar & Brothers (5%) and the Kuwaiti government (60%). Water is supplied to Kuwait’s Ministry of Energy and Water.

What makes it special?

By showcasing the very pinnacle of what MED has to offer, the contractor delivered a massive asset that requires a minimum of handling. Combining low O&M costs with a limited requirement for scaling treatment, the plant allows its owners to push the margins of performance and profitability – a key condition for the country’s pathfinder water PPP.

The plant redefines efficiency in thermal desalination. An ultra-low electrical consumption of around 1 kWh/m3 keeps its reliance on external power sources to a minimum. Sidem’s in-house MED expertise allows the plant to use relatively low-pressure steam, freeing up energy and resources at the attached power facility.


The location of the plant meant it had to be configured to handle extreme levels of seawater salinity and a wide range of feedwater temperatures ranging from 13°C to 38°C. The delivery of a truly flexible plant of this size is a stunning paean to engineering excellence.

The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

%d bloggers like this: