Skip to content

Desalination Company of the Year

For the company which made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2022.

Shortlisted Nominees


ACWA Power

What is it?

A Saudi desalination and power generation project developer, investor, owner and operator. The company has more than 15 years’ expertise developing some of the world’s largest water projects and has a project portfolio worth more than $72 billion, including 6.4 million m3/d of successfully developed seawater desalination projects.

What has it done?

Last year saw ACWA Power capitalise on the runaway success of its 2021 IPO. It became 2022’s most successful water stock, achieving blistering operating profits, and delivering the company’s highest ever volume of new installed desalination capacity, while simultaneously demonstrating a dedication to affordable water, plant efficiency and technical innovation.

What makes it special?

In a crushing demonstration of its ever-growing capability as a project developer, 2022 saw ACWA Power successfully deliver a record 2.4 million m3/d of new desalination capacity, overcoming the challenges of a global pandemic to commission four new desalination mega-projects without delays. Startup at the Taweelah (UAE), Umm Al Quwain (UAE), Rabigh 3 (Saudi) and Ad Dur 2 (Bahrain) independent water projects represents a colossal contribution to water supply in the water-starved GCC region.

The past year saw ACWA Power display its continued skill in familiar territory while branching out beyond the GCC for the first time. A contract win for a mega-project at Shoaiba (Saudi Arabia) and the low bid for another at Rabigh (Saudi Arabia) reflect the company’s dominance in the notoriously competitive GCC project markets, while a desalination deal with the government of Senegal places ACWA Power at the forefront of affordable desalinated water in emerging markets.


In a sector where the price of water is law, ACWA Power showed its dedication to the pursuit of innovation and energy efficiency by developing hydraulic injection desalination: a new thermal technology which may offer a specific energy consumption below 2kWh/m3, significantly lower than existing reverse osmosis benchmarks.



What is it?

A French desalination and renewable power project developer focused on driving change towards a carbon-neutral economy, responsible for a portfolio of desalination projects with a total combined capacity of 5.8 million m3/d.

What has it done?

2022 saw Engie assert itself as a leader in the drive towards sustainable and environmentally friendly desalination, breaking ground on three innovative large-scale solar- and wind-powered projects, as well as demonstrating its ability to put together competitive bids despite COVID-linked disruptions, and pioneering a new initiative for gender equality in the desalination sector.

What makes it special?

After setting comprehensive net zero targets in 2021, Engie’s commitment to decarbonising the desalination sector was front and centre in 2022 as its teams broke ground on two solar-powered mega-projects in Yanbu and Jubail (Saudi Arabia) as well as a wind-powered large-scale project in Dakhla (Morocco).

A contract win at the UAE’s Mirfa 2 independent water project not only marked a major contribution to the emirate’s transition from thermal desalination to low-carbon intensive reverse osmosis but, with Engie submitting the only bid to fall below the landmark $0.50/m3 price point, also highlighted the company’s expertise as a developer, showing that there is still hope for well-priced desalinated water in an inflationary environment.


In a pioneering move, the company joined with Saudi Arabia’s Higher Institute for Water and Power Technologies to launch the sector’s first ever training and hiring programme specifically for Saudi women. The program sees Engie put actions behind words in the drive for gender equality, with the successful trainees to be hired as full-time operations technicians at the company’s Yanbu or Jubail mega-plants.



What is it?

A US-based desalination technology expert aiming to solve the toughest challenges in the industrial water sector through a wide range of environmentally friendly solutions, powered by an ever-growing suite of innovative technologies.

What has it done?

Gradiant surged ahead in 2022, doubling its 2021 revenues, aggressively hiring new talent and expanding its capabilities as an end-to-end solutions provider. Capitalising on a major funding injection the year before, the company made significant acquisitions in the desalination space which unlocked digital and manufacturing synergies with its existing technologies.

What makes it special?

Gradiant took confident strides in 2022 towards its goal of deploying its technologies on a service basis, making valuable use of the $105 million the company received in a 2021 funding round. Aided by new manufacturing capabilities acquired with Dubai-based OEM and service provider Advanced Watertek, Gradiant has now come into its own as a capable global end-to-end solutions provider.

The stunning acquisition of Canada-based machine learning specialist Synauta unlocked powerful new digital synergies between Synauta’s machine learning optimisations and Gradiant’s existing reverse technology as part of Gradiant’s end-to-end RO Infinity solution, as well as providing savings at Gradiant’s existing plants under its build-own-operate (BOO) business model.


The last year saw incredible successes for Gradiant’s proprietary counterflow reverse osmosis (CFRO) technology, successfully gaining traction for a new approach in a notoriously risk-averse market. After three years of continuous piloting at a site in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Gradiant’s hard work was rewarded with a full-scale contract to upgrade SAWACO’s Store City plant in the city. With new pilots underway in Perth (Australia) and plans to deploy CFRO in lithium recovery, Gradiant has positioned CFRO as one of the hottest technologies in the sector and an invaluable tool for an industry facing growing controversy around brine management.



What is it?

A Saudi Arabia-based desalination, water, and wastewater engineering procurement and construction (EPC) specialist, historically focused on delivering cost-effective and environmentally sustainable projects in its domestic market but now widening its gaze to the MENA region more broadly.

What has it done?

After five years composing a masterplan to take the company back to the top of the water contracting world, 2022 saw Wetico burst back into the market in style, winning a massive trio of contracts for mega-projects in Algeria, with capacities totalling 900,000m3/d, while setting the stage for a debut in the new generation of Gulf -mega-desal projects.

What makes it special?

Wetico closed out 2022 by taking on the challenge of writing a desalination success story in Algeria, achieving momentous contract wins at Béjaïa, El Tarf, and Cap Djinet. The wins place Wetico at the cutting edge of a programme that represents a new era for desalination in a country where projects have historically struggled to fulfil their potential.

The wins in Algeria, each for a 300,000m3/d mega-project, are the largest in Wetico’s history and reflect the successful culmination of a long-term comeback plan that began in 2020 after Wetico was fully acquired by the Abunayyan Group. The company is now set to re-establish itself as one of the sector’s leading EPC contractors.


Involvement in Algeria marks a bright new direction for the historically Saudi-focused company, with Wetico now planning to further broaden its horizons to new markets in the Middle East and North Africa. Its international success reflects the changing tides in the desalination market, where new building programmes outside the GCC offer new opportunities for specialists in the world’s largest desalination markets to bring their experience to the rest of the world as competitive international players.


%d bloggers like this: