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GE, Miahona partner on sustainable water reuse tech in Saudi Arabia

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GE partners with Miahona in its latest move to bring its water conservation technology to the increasingly populous but water-hungry Middle East.

One thing is clear about the Middle East: in the desert, water will always be prized.

That's why General Electric and Miahona on Monday inked a deal to bring water reuse technology to rapidly growing Saudi Arabia.

The problem: the Middle East and North Africa together have five percent of the world’s population, but less than 1 percent of the world’s available water supply.

The partnership combines GE's water technology with Miahona’s local knowledge, with the intention of deploying advanced membrane technology for:

  • water reuse
  • wastewater treatment
  • wastewater reuse
  • zero liquid discharge projects

The companies will also collaborate on well injection projects, which fit GE's existing oil recovery product portfolio nicely.

(Miahona is a subsidiary of ACWA Holding Co., which focuses on water supply, wastewater treatment and groundwater development and treatment in the country.)

The water reuse market in Saudi Arabia is estimated to be worth some $3.4 billion between 2009 and 2016 -- the third-largest water reuse market in the world. Saudi Arabia’s own capacity is growing more than 30 percent annually and is expected to reach 2.2 million cubic meters per day by 2016.

Last year, GE opened a $10 million, 7,500 square meter Water & Process Technology Center in Dammam. The company already has more than 800 employees in the country.

This is far from GE's first project in Saudi Arabia. Previously, it built Marafiq -- the world’s largest independent water and power project, at more than 2.7 gigawatts of power capacity and 800,000 cubic meters per day of desalinated water -- and also provided a fleet of mobile water systems for seawater and brackish water to the Al Tamimi group.

Illustration: Foreign Policy/International Water Management Institute

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Andrew Nusca

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Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure