In view of the increasing rise in water demand, plans are afoot for contract extension of Barka I in 2020 and a new independent water project (IWP) in 2021. “Negotiations are going on for extension of the Barka I contract,” Oman Power & Water Procurement Co (OPWP) revealed in its seven-year outlook for power and desalinated water supply in the country. Water demand in the northern region, which includes the Interconnected Zone and Sharqiyah Zone is projected to increase by 6 per cent per year, from 226 million cubic metres (m3) in 2015 to 328 million m3 in 2021.
In the Interconnected Zone, peak water demand is projected to increase by as much as 540,000 cubic metres per day (m3/d) by 2021. In Dhofar, the Directorate General of Water estimates water demand to grow at 8 per cent and peak water demand to increase from 88,000 m3/d in 2015 to 143,000 m3/d in 2021. According to the report, OPWP plans to begin procurement of a new IWP with capacity in the range of 80,000 to 100,000 m3/d to be in service in 2019. OPWP is also in consultation with Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) to finalise plans for procurement of desalination capacity to serve Ad Duqm and Musandam.
The Duqm IWP is being considered for 2019 with a capacity of up to 60,000 m3/d, depending on the extent to which industrial demands must be served. The Musandam IWP is being considered at Khasab with capacity of about 13,000 m3/d, OPWP said in its outlook report. PAEW has provided two demand scenarios — base and high — which together capture uncertainty in demand growth.
Both forecast scenarios reflect the impact of 2014 population statistics and updated forecasts by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), and the impact of updates to PAEW plans for network expansion.
“The base and high scenarios differ primarily in the near-term pace of population growth, and the related effect on water demand”, the report said. The base scenario reflects demand following the 2014 NCSI population projection, which projects a relatively low growth rate compared to actual growth over the past five years from 2009 to 2014.
“Considering the NCSI population forecast, network expansion plans and identified special projects, PAEW’s Base scenario projects an average growth rate of about 6 per cent from 2014 to 2021”, the report said.
The high scenario assumes that population continues to grow according to the 2009-2014 trend, until around 2020, then tapers off to realign with the NCSI projection by the late 2030s.
“Apart from the population trend, the assumptions for network expansion and special projects are similar to the base scenario. The high scenario projects an average growth in water demand of about 8 per cent over the forecast horizon to 2021”, said the report. From 2017 to 2019, new capacity at Qurayat, Barka and Sohar is sufficient to meet targets despite retirement of the old Ghubrah units and contract expiration at Barka I, but for a modest deficit against the high scenario capacity target in 2017. In 2020, a deficit in reserves again emerges in the high demand scenario, though not in the Base scenario.
In general, the report said, economic assessments and recent procurement experience demonstrate the substantial cost advantage over multi-stage flash desalination technology. According to the report, a new IWP is also being considered for 2021 with notional capacity of about 300,000 m3/d, which would be sufficient to cover several years of demand growth. Procurement activities is expected to begin around 2017, which would allow several years to assess demand growth trends and contractual developments at existing plants before committing to the capacity requirement. Several potential sites are under evaluation, the report added.