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Swiss, Spanish firms clinch Sh16b sea desalination deal

Spanish company Almar Water Solutions and Switzerland’s Aqua Swiss will develop Kenya’s first large-scale desalination plants. Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho says the project will end perennial water shortages in Mombasa.Almar Water Solutions CEO Carlos Cosin said the project will start it in June 2019 and expects to have water by 2021.

Mombasa County Governor Hassan Joho with Carlos Cosin, the CEO of Almar Water Solutions. The Spanish firm will develop Kenya’s first large-scale desalination plant in Mombasa.

Photo | Kevin Odit

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has unveiled two international companies that will carry out the Sh16 billion sea desalination project that is due to start works in June next year. Spanish company Almar Water Solutions and Switzerland’s Aqua Swiss will develop Kenya’s first large-scale desalination plants, which Mr Joho says will end perennial water shortages in Mombasa.The two firms will be tasked with carrying out the billion-shilling project comprising two plants, with the main one being set up mostly by Almar Water Solutions on the mainland.Aqua Swiss has been awarded a contract to develop another smaller scale desalination plant in Likoni that will have a capacity of 30,000 cubic meters per day. “Almar Water Solutions will put up the desalination plant in North mainland zone…It will be able to pump more than 100,000 cubic meters of water per day, giving quality water supply to over a million people in the county,” Mr Joho said Tuesday, noting that Mombasa had suffered from acute water shortages due to lack of its own fresh water source.The tourist hub city sources water from Kwale, Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties. “The increasing population has led to increase in demand while the supply form neighbouring counties keep fluctuating. Currently the demand stands at 200,000cubic meters against a supply of 42,000 cubic meters,” Mr Joho said.The county boss revealed that he has been working on finding permanent and sustainable solutions for the water scarcity, including prospects in the signing of the Sh20 billion Water Purchase Agreement for Mwache dam and setting up desalination plants.

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“It has been a long journey for the desalination project and finally it is now taking shape. The county government advertised for request for proposals in 2016. Vetting was done and two investors were awarded with the tender, Almar Water Solutions and Aqua Swiss.”Almar Water Solutions CEO Carlos Cosin said the project will start it in June 2019 and expects to have water by 2021.On its website, the firm says the project with an estimated total capacity of 270,000 m3/day consists of the development of three desalination plants, one with a capacity of 100,000 m3/day for the West Mainland zone, another with a capacity of 100,000 m3/day for the North Mainland zone, and a third with a capacity of 70,000 m3/day for the Likoni zone to the south of the island.Almar Water Solutions will be responsible for the financing, design, engineering, and later operation and maintenance of the plants, supervising the entire process from the beginning stages until the project is transferred to the client.

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