Skip to content

Desalination Company of the Year: Shortlist

For the desalination company which made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2017.

Shortlisted Nominees



What is it?

The water wing of the Spanish energy and engineering giant, which boasts a historical reference base in excess of 1.5 million m3/d of installed desalination capacity.

What has it done?

Abengoa began 2017 as a company facing serious financial trouble. It finished the year as the membrane desalination contractor par excellence, building up a gobsmacking order-book in an astonishingly short space of time by securing some of the world’s most valuable and important desal projects.

What makes it special?

The company was without doubt the most prolific winner of major new desalination projects throughout the course of last year, securing contracts in Tunisia, Oman, Morocco and Saudi Arabia that will among them add more than 500,000m3/d of capacity to the global desalination inventory.

At the same time, it proved that scale does not have to be the enemy of innovation. The company’s newest project in Agadir, Morocco, marks the first ever mass utilisation of seawater desalination for the agricultural sector, opening up an entirely new horizon for the global desalination industry.


The international project development partnership that Abengoa signed with Canadian infrastructure investor Algonquin Power at the end of last year brought with it the financial clout of an experienced investor – and a natural outlet for recycling project equity. This, combined with Abengoa’s formidable reputation as a lean EPC contracting machine, mean that it has fully restored its reputation as one of the most feared competitors on the global desalination circuit.


ACWA Power

What is it?

A Saudi Arabia-based project developer, co-owner and operator of power and water plants across the world. Its portfolio of desalination assets has a combined water generation capacity of more than 2.7 million m3/d.

What has it done?

2017 marked a barnstorming return to form for ACWA Power’s desalination business, which had come under threat of being overshadowed by the company’s renewables wing. A series of high-profile contract wins were matched with the kind of financial innovation that demonstrates why the company is at the cutting edge of desalination development.

What makes it special?

The agreement to expand the Shoaiba 3 desalination plant for a second time single-handedly kicked off the privately financed desalination explosion that is set to dominate the Saudi Arabian market for years to come. ACWA’s financial acumen in exploring new sources of project finance such as Korean insurance agencies demonstrates a company at the height of its confidence and financial powers.

Proving that its model of desalination dominance is not restricted to Saudi Arabia, the company cemented its position in Oman, securing the largest desal project to be awarded in the country last year, at Salalah, and extending the offtake contract for its Barka I facility. The latter move established an important blueprint for all private desal plant owners operating in Oman.


ACWA Power’s first-of-its-kind project-backed bond issue, where cash flows are secured by income from its array of plant references, raised vital capital for further development, and set a new record as the largest corporate dollar bond to be issued in Saudi Arabia. It is this sort of joined-up thinking that keeps the company streets ahead of the competition.



What is it?

A UAE-headquartered water and wastewater specialist, with business wings covering design/build, chemicals, and asset ownership.

What has it done?

2017 saw Metito spread its wings in the desalination arena, riding a relentless wave of progress across the Middle East and Africa thanks to a superlative attitude to business development and a fearless approach to new markets. Boldness in bidding was matched by an ability to deliver to the most exacting specifications for a broad array of clients.

What makes it special?

Metito spearheaded the genesis of mass desalination in Egypt last year, building the country’s largest ever plant at Al Yosr, while securing contracts to supply the country’s next two large-scale installations. With desal being leant on to future-proof Egypt’s water security and avert a diplomatic crisis with its Nile neighbours, Metito’s success has a positive political impact far beyond the field of water supply.

The company is bending the boundaries of the water-energy nexus, pushing an innovative solar-driven SWRO design at the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia that promises to free utilities from the burden of grid-constrained energy when considering desalination as an option.


The completion of a reverse osmosis plant to polish treated sewage effluent in Doha, Qatar, and a unique BWRO/SWRO facility serving the power industry in Burullus, Egypt, demonstrate a company equally at ease with the complexities of industrial water as with serving resource-constrained residential communities. An adaptable regional champion punching well above its weight.



What is it?

The Euronext-listed water and waste giant which is revolutionising the way municipal and industrial clients address their resource challenges around the world.

What has it done?

As the changing energy mix in the Middle East breaks down the old power-and-water paradigm, Suez has stepped out from under the wing of its erstwhile partner Engie to embrace a new role as an investor and desalination project developer with a truly agnostic approach to scale and technology. Meanwhile, the firm’s industrial capabilities were transformed following the takeover of GE Water.

What makes it special?

The faultless commissioning of the 238,665m3/d Mirfa desalination plant in the UAE proved that membrane desalination can work on a mass scale, even in the most hostile of feedwater conditions. Suez’s achievements as both contractor and investor demonstrate a company leading the way in quality utility-scale desal.

The completion of the acquisition of GE Water catapulted Suez into the top echelons of industrial water treatment, and aptly demonstrates how decisive boldness in the M&A market can transform a company’s fortunes. It now enjoys market-leading positions in an array of industrial end markets – while boasting a reference base which is second to none.


By securing a major mobile desalination contract with Brazilian petrochemicals giant Petrobras, establishing a brine handling JV with Solvay, and successfully completing its revolutionary low-energy desal pilot at Masdar last year, Suez confirmed beyond all doubt that it is able to outperform at every level of the desalination scale.


The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

%d bloggers like this: