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Desalination Plant of the Year

For the desalination plant, commissioned during 2018, that represents the most impressive technical or ecologically sustainable achievement in the industry.

Tuas Desalination Plant, Singapore

What is it?

A $153 million seawater desalination facility producing up to 30MIGD (136,380m3/d) water, enough to serve around 200,000 people in the city-state. The plant deploys a dual DAF/UF pre-treatment system and two-pass SWRO desalination process.

What has it done?

The facility was built by HSL Constructor, with Tedagua as lead desalination subcontractor. The client, Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, was advised by consultant Jacobs. RO and UF membranes were provided by Hydranautics and Inge respectively. Further components were supplied by Amiad (disc filters), ERI (energy recovery), ROPV (pressure vessels) and Flowserve (pumps).

What makes it special?

Covering just 3.5 hectares, the plant is by far the most space-efficient facility in the country, and potentially the world, a crucial issue for a state like Singapore where every space counts and real estate is at an absolute premium.

By covering more than half of the roof surface in photovoltaic panels the facility generates a peak 1.2MW energy on-site, part of an ultra-modern energy-conscious design for the plant which keeps overall consumption to an enviable 3.5kWh/m3. Meanwhile the combination of UF and DAF for pre-treatment assists in the prevention of membrane fouling, doubling the lifespan of RO membranes compared to other similar plants.


As the first plant in Singapore to be owned and operated by the PUB, the project marked a courageous move away from reliance on private developers, and a stunning success in transfer of knowledge and skills to the country’s national water utility. It puts the PUB at the forefront of desalination plant development for decades to come in the region.


Barka 4 IWP, Oman

What is it?

A $314 million privately financed SWRO desalination plant in Oman, supplying 281,000m3/d water under a 20-year build-own-operate to the country’s national offtaker, the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company.

What has it done?

The project is owned and was delivered by Barka Desalination Company, a consortium comprising Itochu (36%), Suez (27%), Engie (27%) and WJ Towell (10%) design, EPC work and operations are the responsibility of Suez, which also supplied DAF pretreatment systems and sand filters. Flowserve provided DWEER energy recovery devices. Pressure vessels were supplied by Protec Ariwasa.

What makes it special?

With more than 2,000 people working on the project at peak times, Barka 4 represented a massive engineering challenge. The successful delivery came in less than 30 months after construction started, a staggering achievement for a project of this scale and a boon for the struggle against Oman’s ongoing water shortage.

The plant claims a record low electrical energy consumption for a facility of its size thanks to the ultra-modern energy recovery process integrated in the design, thus offering more energy efficiency than the current state-of-the-art desalination systems, a crucial issue at a time when the energy mix in the region is under more scrutiny and more pressure than ever.


As the largest reverse osmosis plant yet to be built in the Sultanate, Barka 4 is a majestic tribute to the success of the technology, and a new high point for desalination in the country. At a time when national finances are coming under pressure the successful commissioning of the plant saves costs and will single-handedly increase national water capacity by 20%.

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