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Desalination Company of the Year

For the company which made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2019. See the full shortlist showreel here.

ACWA Power

What is it?

A Saudi Arabian water and power project developer, investor, owner and operator. The company has interests in a portfolio of 56 assets in 11 countries, including desalination plants with a combined generation capacity of 5.3 million m3/d.

What has it done?

As well as cementing its role as perhaps the world’s leading desalination project developer in 2019 with a string of giant contract wins, ACWA Power’s technological skill, canny incorporation of renewable energy and financial acumen helped push the price of water from desal down to new lows. ACWA Power’s growing strength in water has been synonymous with the development of the international desalination market, and no company has done more to redefine the fundamentals of the industry.

What makes it special?

ACWA Power’s unique portfolio and its mastery of the intricacies of renewable energy helped it win water projects in 2019 and rewrite the rules on pricing for the industry. The success of the audacious bid for the Taweelah IWP in Abu Dhabi showed that desalinated water for under $0.50 a cubic metre is the new benchmark for the industry.

The company demonstrated a superlative ability to combine of finance and engineering in 2019, achieving lightning-quick financial close on three of the world’s largest-ever desalination projects.


The fast-closing ACWA-led deals at Rabigh, Umm al Quwain and Taweelah saw nearly $2.5 billion of private capital invested into desalination, showing a company that can by itself drive the fundamentals of the desal market.

The successful commissioning of the second expansion to the Shoaiba 3 desalination plant marked the first time in Saudi Arabia that a private developer had taken full ownership of a major asset with no state involvement. It was a bold sign of confidence in PPP as it plays a crucial role in the country’s national strategy.



What is it?

An engineer, contractor and operator specialising in water purification technology for industrial and infrastructure markets, headquartered in the US, and focusing on desalination, water recycling and zero liquid discharge projects.

What has it done?

The company wielded its unique industrial desalination expertise to great success in 2019, demonstrating its global reach with a series of high-profile developments. At the same time its municipal business made a stunning breakthrough in the company founder’s home country of India, where it will be rolling out a generation of desal plants aimed at drought-proofing the water-scarce state of Gujarat for years to come.

What makes it special?

Aquatech made one of its biggest municipal desalination breakthroughs at the end of the year, securing contracts alongside Indian EPC Shapoorji Pallonji to develop four desalination plants in Gujarat with a combined capacity of At a time when India is rapidly becoming one of the world’s growth engines for seawater desalination building, Aquatech is perfectly positioned to meet that growth and make a difference for some of the world’s most water scarce regions.

Aside from their scale and local importance, the Gujarat contracts stand out as one of the most significant privately financed contracts ever pushed out by Aquatech, showing a company that is willing to back its finely honed engineering chops with financial muscle.


The company continued to demonstrate its reputation as top of the class for industrial desalination with the completion of the Lower Fars Oilfield wastewater recycling facility for the Kuwait Oil Company. Deploying a vast array of membrane technologies to turn treated municipal effluent into high-quality water for steam injection, the plant is a reminder of the importance water treatment plays in keeping industries running.