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Desalination Company of the Year

For the company which made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2020.

Saline Water Conversion Corporation

What is it?

The state-controlled body that owns and operates all of Saudi Arabia’s public desalination plants, with a portfolio of facilities producing 9 million m3/d of water. Water produced by SWCC plants accounts for 74% of the domestic supply, and around 22% of global seawater desalination capacity.

What has it done?

In a year of transition for the world’s largest desalination market, SWCC repositioned itself as a champion of desalination technology and performance while continuing to award and build some of the world’s largest new facilities. A key corporate restructuring means it is well set to reap the further rewards of change in the future.

What makes it special?

In 2020 the corporation saw the first results from a massive desalination building programme aimed at upgrading and replacing ageing facilities. With first water delivered from major plants at Khobar and Shoaiba, as well as a number of sites on the west coast, SWCC has taken a major step toward a modernised desalination portfolio that will dramatically reduce its fuel footprint and save billions of dollars in operating costs each year.

The transfer of SWCC’s water transmission assets to new body WTTCO was a bold restructuring move that saw the creation of a new infrastructure champion for the Kingdom, while leaving SWCC leaner and able to focus on its core business of desalination performance.


The corporation has wielded its unparalleled scale and expertise in operations to push the limits of desalination technology and performance. Its sites are testbeds for the most exciting technological breakthroughs in areas like brine management, mineral recovery and thermal desal optimisation, while new facilities have consistently smashed the 3kWh/m3 energy consumption benchmark.


Biwater Inc.

What is it?

The US-based desalination and membrane treatment hub of the international water and wastewater group.

What has it done?

In a year that saw the pandemic rewrite the rules for international markets, Biwater Inc. soared above its competitors to take an unassailable grip on the US’s membrane treatment plant market with its most successful year of trading ever. Since the beginning of the pandemic, investment in the company’s delivery capabilities began to pay off, and it has executed and been awarded a record combined 425,000m3/d in installed plant capacity.

What makes it special?

Biwater was undoubtedly the king of US desalination wins last year. The company’s membrane treatment business was simply unstoppable in 2020. It successfully delivered a string of reverse osmosis and nanofiltration systems that transformed the water infrastructure options for customers across the country. High-profile contracts secured included the West Villages Desalination project in Florida, and a seemingly endless list in California covering the North Pleasant Valley Desalter, Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project, Beverly Hills RO retrofit and Antioch BWRO, among others.

The company’s new state-of-the-art production centre in Rancho Cucamonga, California, began to reap dividends in a serious way in 2020. The ability to roll out complex tailored systems at a lightning-fast pace transformed the company’s business offering, and allowing it to push the boundaries of design excellence.


While the company dominates the booming brackish groundwater treatment market in the US, it is simultaneously flying the flag for innovative uses of membrane treatment. Its work as the membrane treatment specialist for the latest stage of the world’s largest indirect potable water purification and reuse project at Orange County offers a model for sustainable water management in a rapidly changing world for water resources.

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