José Enrique Bofill, aqualia Middle East Director says the company will implement its best practices in Riyadh to help achieve NWC’s water loss goals. Excerpts from the interview:
What were the ground factors that led National Water Company (NWC) to award the contract for water network leakage management in Riyadh to aqualia?
NWC is pursuing an ambitious strategy of transformation of the water industry in Saudi Arabia. Within this context, NWC is collaborating closely together with major global water companies like aqualia to address the key issues. One of them is losses in the water supply network.
Could you tell us about the value of the contract, its tenure, scope and targets?
The value of the contract is SR140 Million. The project aims at a significant reduction of leakage in a sector comprising nearly 7,000 kilometres of pipeline network and the implementation of the latest technologies in terms of GIS-based network management and leakage detection. It is an ambitious target, but we are confident in our capabilities because it is something we have already done in many other cities in different countries.
What are the challenges associated with leakage management in a city like Riyadh?
There are a number of challenges to overcome such as effective gathering of relevant information (always a very important element in a leakage project), efficient management of the required permits with the different authorities involved and the difficulties arising from the discontinuous supply.
What are the competencies and experiences brought by aqualia to such contracts?
aqualia manages currently the water infrastructure of 1,100 municipalities in 17 countries. Our strategy is to develop and implement best practices where we work. We have accumulated numerous experiences of leakage optimisation and reduction of non-revenue water (NRW) in very diverse environments and climates. At the same time, our company has a very detailed self assurance quality system and operational procedures that help a great deal in approaching the challenges in a systematised but flexible way.
What will be your initial strategy for water leakage reduction? What is the scope for improvement in Riyadh?
The project bears three stages: the first stage includes information gathering and design of the activities to be carried out. Stage two will see the implementation of District Metered Areas (DMA) and District Metering Zones (DMZ) in the network, and in stage three, we will carry out the leakage detection and repair.
Have you identified specific technologies you will be deploying in Riyadh?
There are a number of technologies to be deployed depending on the network, available pressure, material of pipelines and other factors.
What are your plans for the near future in the Middle East?
We don’t believe in being aggressive. In fact, we pride ourselves on our solid delivery. We are already growing in Abu Dhabi where we see excellent prospects for business growth. Our main focus is to execute our contract with NWC and achieve the best results. The rest will come by itself in time.
Interview by Anoop K Menon