Saudi Arabia - Country Commercial Guide
Last published date:


Saudi Arabia has seen a rapid expansion in its economy and population since the discovery of oil nine decades ago. The population is expected to grow from 35 million to 40.1 million by 2030. Given the limitations on natural water resources in Saudi Arabia, desalination facilities will continue to be built to meet the increasing water demands. It is anticipated that the supply of desalinated water will deliver 2.18 billion m3/year as Saudi Arabia competes with top five water users in the world consuming 360 L/day on average.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture recently announced that they have allocated US$ 80 billion towards water projects within the coming years. This falls in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is to enable equal access to clean and safe water globally.

Saudi Arabia’s wastewater treatment services market is also growing at a steady pace. According to a recent study, Saudi Arabia built 133 wastewater treatment facilities in 2021 an increase of 14.66% over the previous year.

Recently, in September 2023, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia announced the establishment of a Global Water Organization headquartered in Riyadh. The organization’s core activities will be to integrate and enhance the efforts made by governments and organizations in securing global water sustainably. The organization will also promote establishment and funding of high-priority projects. This is a great addition to the country’s developmental funding with over USD. 6 billion allocated to various water and sanitation projects across four continents. In April 2022, Saudi Arabia launched an ambitious cloud seeding program operated by the Saudi National Meteorological Center (NMC).  The program aims to increase water security and provide an alternative to the expensive, energy-intensive desalinization plants that currently provide the bulk of the Kingdom’s water.

The strategic objectives of Saudi Arabia’s National Water Strategy are to ensure continuous access to adequate quantities of safe water under normal operations and during emergency situations; enhance water demand management across all uses; deliver cost-effective and high-quality water and wastewater services; safeguard and optimize the use of water resources and preserve the local environment for the highest benefit of the Saudi society; and ensure water sector competitiveness through the promotion of effective governance, private sector participation, localization of capabilities, and innovation.

Key Players in the Saudi Arabia Water Sector

  • Ministry of Environment, Water, & Agriculture (MEWA): MEWA is responsible for the regulation and implementation of all aspects of the country’s policies for the environmental, water and agricultural sectors. 


  • Water & Electricity Regulatory Authority (WERA):  WERA regulates the electricity and water desalination sector as well as district cooling​.


  • Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC):  SWCC is one of Public Investment Fund companies and is responsible for approximately 69 percent of desalination in Saudi Arabia and 20 percent of worldwide desalination. 
  • National Water Company (NWC): NWC is a Saudi joint stock company fully owned by the Public Investment Fund was established to provide water and wastewater treatment services in accordance with the latest international standards.

  • Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC): SWPC is fully owned by the Ministry of Finance and charged with overseeing the PPP development of desalination and wastewater projects.  SWPC is a purchasing agent of the SWCC and the Saudi Electricity Company. 

  • Water Transmission and Technologies Company (WTTCO): Established by MEWA, WTTCO is responsible for operating and maintaining transmission, dispatch, distribution and storage systems and transmission of desalinated water. 

  • Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (TAQNIA):  TAQNIA is a 100 percent Public Investment-owned company mandated to invest and commercialize the R&D output from various research institutions locally and globally. 

  • National Center for Privatization and PPP (NCP):  NCP is a public center of excellence that aids in developing regulations, creating privatization frameworks, and preparing government assets and services for privatization.

Doing Business in the Saudi Arabia Water Sector

Although U.S. exporters are not required to appoint a local Saudi agent or distributor to sell to Saudi companies, it is strongly recommended that companies consider partnering with a local company for the purposes of monitoring business opportunities, navigating import and standard testing regulations, and identifying public sector sales and contract opportunities.   Saudi Arabia’s Procurement Law regulates all government procurement – including MEWA and WERA tenders.  The Ministry of Finance is the overarching authority for the law and its implementation, and administers the procurement portal, Etimad, which serves as a centralized repository for all government tenders.  Under Vision 2030, water is a sector targeted for privatization by the NCP; however, SWPC has emerged as a leading procurement entity in this sector.  In addition to finding procurement opportunities posted on the NCP website, U.S. companies should also explore the SWPC and WTTCO websites for opportunities.


Saudi Arabia’s ongoing capital projects portfolio is 6.28 billion USD. This is mainly for water distribution, water treatment plants, wastewater collection projects and wastewater treatment plants. Opportunities exist for consultants, contractors for water and wastewater networks, water treatment plants and sewage water plants, manufacturers of pipelines, tanks, pumps, flowmeters, smart meters, and other industry equipment.

In the water desalination sector, SWCC has initiated plans to convert existing multiple effect distillation (MED) and multi-stage flash distillation (MSF)-run plants to utilize newer reverse osmosis (RO) technologies.

MEWA plans to meet 90 percent of Saudi Arabia water demand using desalinated water and 10 percent using ground and surface water by 2030.  Based on existing urban water demand and committed water supply, new urban desalination plants would be required to overcome a water shortage of 4.5 million m3/day.

Saudi Arabia’s current and forecasted sewage network covers about 50 percent of total wastewater generated.  According to 2018 data, Saudi Arabia has approximately 5.6 million m3/day of wastewater treatment capacity with 3.2 million m3/day under construction with 0.4 million m3/day planned for decommissioning.  To achieve 2030 treatment targets, a total of 8.4 million m3/day of capacity addition is required. 

Valued at $4.69 billion by Gulf State Analytics, Saudi Arabia’s water reuse market is estimated as the third largest in the world after China and the U.S.  Saudi Arabia has approximately 200 wastewater treatment plants, with much of the treated non-potable wastewater finding useful purposes as “grey water,” watering green spaces in cities, irrigating crops, or reused in industry.  Saudi Arabia has set a goal to achieve 100 percent reuse of treated urban wastewater by 2025. In Riyadh region, NWC is working on expanding and improving the water supply systems by constructing “city gates” reservoirs to receive potable water from desalination plants, transmission pipelines, and water networks.

SWPC seeks to progressively increase the participation of the private sector to 100 percent in desalinated water production by 2030.  Between 2022 and 2030, it plans to bridge gaps in water production, strategic storage, and treatment capacities by analyzing supply and demand during this period and deploying projects accordingly.  SWPC is working towards incorporating alternative energy source requirements to improve the uptake of solar generation in upcoming projects, supporting Saudi Arabia’s mandate to increase the usage of renewable energy.

Leading Sub-Sectors 

Water Transmission: As a result of aging distribution systems and inefficient usage, Saudi Arabia can lose up to 40 percent of its transmitted water on any given day.  Opportunities exist for water efficiency and monitoring solutions such as radar beams, audio devices, and helium gas to monitor leaks in the networks.

Desalination: SWCC’s approved desalination budget for 2023 is USD. 6.6 billion. Currently SWCC has 30 plants in operation and are planning to start construction on five more within the next two years, to be in commission by 2027.

Wastewater Treatment: In its 2023 budget, NWC has allocated approximately 20 billion USD for 1,218 water distribution projects; 20.32 billion USD for 857 wastewater collection projects, and 3.29 billion for 86 wastewater treatment plant projects.


  • Ministry of Environment, Water, & Agriculture
  • Water & Electricity Regulatory Authority 
  • Saline Water Conversion Corporation 
  • National Water Company 
  • Saudi Water Partnership Company
  • Water Transmission and Technologies Company 
  • Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company
  • National Center for Privatization and PPP
  • Local Content & Government Procurement Authority


  • Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition & Conference
  • Saudi Water Expo
  • Water Arabia

For more information, contact: