Veolia is desalinating seawater in Az Zour in Kuwait, and contributing to new urban development

Meeting the demand for drinking water is a major challenge in the Middle East. Seawater desalination responds to this demand. Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, HE Abdulaziz Abdullatif Al-Ibrahim, the Kuwaiti Minister of Public Works and Water and Electricity, Antoine Frérot, CEO and Chairman of Veolia, and Christian Nakhlé, French Ambassador to Kuwait, inaugurated the Az Zour South reverse osmosis desalination plant.

With a capacity of 136,000 m3 of water per day, the plant has a special feature: seawater is pumped from the cooling system of the neighbouring power plant. The water that feeds it is therefore warm - up to 40 °C in the summer - which reduces the amount of electricity required to operate the reverse osmosis system. It is consequently described as hybrid because it combines the 2 processes - thermal and membrane. 


"It demonstrates that the innovative solutions with high added value that we offer in the area of water services, as in sanitation, waste management and energy, enable us to meet the most varied technical challenges - and particularly that of the scarcity of water resources -, and to satisfy the highest requirements of the public authorities and the constantly evolving needs of cities and industries," said Antoine Frérot.

Kuwait-Veolia to build the desalination plant at the Az Zour North complex for 320 million euros (363.11 KB)

To the north of Az Zour, Veolia is currently building a second desalination plant which employs the thermal process. In late 2016 it will begin producing 486,500 m3 per day or 20% of the country’s "installed" capacity. 

"Kuwait is key to developing our business in the Middle East: in addition to the Az Zour South and Az Zour North seawater desalination contracts, we also hope to bring our skills to the local oil and gas industry,” added Antoine Frérot.

With over 3,000 employees in the Middle East, Veolia is meeting a growing demand for water and electricity that will continue to rise in line with population growth and economic development in the region.


The two main seawater desalination processes:

Veolia is the world leader in desalination with more than 12 million m3 produced daily worldwide.

Thermal desalination:

This process consists of separating salt and water by means of evaporation in a distillation system. It allows the energy produced by the condensation of steam to be reused, thereby reducing the energy required to heat the water. Through Water Technologies subsidiaries, Veolia has over 330 plants to its name - more than 80% of the global market.

Veolia’s principal achievements in the region:
Saudi Arabia: Marafiq IWPP (Jubail), 800,000 m3 / d. Bahrain: Al Hidd IWPP, 272,000 m3 / d.
United Arab Emirates: Al Fujairah 2 IWPP (Fujairah), 455,000 m3 / d; Al Taweelah A1 (Abu Dhabi), 240,000 m3 / d; Layyah D12 / D13 (Sharjah), 77,000 m3 / d; Ras Al Khaimah (Ajman), 68 000 m3 / d. Kuwait: Az Zour North IWPP, 486,000 m3 / d. Qatar: Ras Laffan C IWPP, 286,000 m3 / d.

Reverse osmosis desalination:

Reverse osmosis, on the other hand pushes the pressurized water through a semi-permeable membrane that retains the salt and other impurities. Over the last 40 years, Veolia has built more than 1,900 reverse osmosis desalination plants in 85 countries producing more than 6.5 million m3 / day.
Veolia’s principal achievements in the region
Saudi Arabia: Sadara Marafiq (Jubail), 179,000 m3 / d. United Arab Emirates: Fujairah 2,136,000 m3 / d. Iraq: Basra P4, 199,000 m3 / d. Kuwait: Az Zour South, 136,000 m3 / d. Oman: Sur, 128,000 m3 / d. 

To know more: 

Press Release Partnership between Masdar and Veolia on the Renewable Energy Water Desalination Program (150.73 KB)