Mar 15, Riyadh: Saudi Arabia, the largest producer of desalinated water in the world, has pledged to support Sri Lanka in desalination projects by offering its technical expertise in the field.
Saudi Arabia has made this offer during a meeting between Sri Lanka's Minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage Rauf Hakeem and his counterpart, Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Fadhli, Minister of Water, Environment And Agriculture, in Riyadh on Tuesday.
"It was a useful and cordial dialogue with the Saudi minister where Saudi Arabia would offer technical support and advice on desalination projects that would be undertaken by the Sri Lankan government," Hakeem told Arab News.
Hakeem said his ministry has already called tenders for desalination plants for projects in Jaffna and the government also intends to carry out similar desalination projects in the dry zone areas like Hambantota and Kalpitiya.
The Sri Lankan Minister said that Al-Fadhli has extended an invitation to a technical team from his ministry to visit the desalination plant in Jubail. "Such visits will enrich our experience in the relevant sector," he said.
Saudi Arabia has the largest desalination plant in the world. Saline Water Conversion Corporation's (SWCC) Ras Al Khair Desalination Plant located in the Ras Al Khair Industrial City, 75km north-west of Jubail is the world's largest and is capable of serving approximately 3.5 billion people.
The plant has a capacity to produce 228 million imperial gallons per day and the total length of supply pipeline is 7,000 km. It serves about 60 percent of domestic use in the Kingdom.
Minister Hakeem explored the feasibility of joint cooperation between the Kingdom and Sri Lanka during his meeting with Abdullah Al-Abdul Karim, deputy governor for planning and development, Saline Water Conversion Corp.
Hakeem also met with Yousef Al-Basam, vice chairman of the Saudi Fund For Development and discussed the possibility of obtaining micro-credit for SMEs in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Ambassador in Riyadh Azmi Thassim also attended the talks.