MIDDLE EAST WATER NEWS IN BRIEF

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* ADSSC is expecting around six bids on 16 November for a 27,276m3/d reverse osmosis plant to polish treated sewage effluent to potable standards at the royal Al Wathba Palace in Abu Dhabi. The polished effluent will be used for landscape and agricultural irrigation.

* SETE Energy has signed a SAR400 million ($107 million) EPC contract with Marafiq to deliver a new 48,000m3/d industrial WWTP to Yanbu Industrial City in Saudi Arabia. The plant will employ a conventional sludge activated process to treat wastewater to tertiary standard in order that it can be reused for irrigation.

* Modern Water’s Al-Khaluf desalination plant in Oman has been successfully commissioned and fresh water production has commenced. The project is a showcase for the company’s technology in the Middle East, and will also earn Modern Water its first revenue from desalination. The plant is located 450km from Muscat, and uses the company’s Manipulated Osmosis Desalination (MOD) technology, which reduces energy and chemical consumption.

* The Israeli government is planning to suspend the drought tax – imposed in mid- July 2009 – between January and April 2010. The response follows a public outcry against the tax, which was introduced in an attempt to cut consumption after four straight years of below average rainfall.

* Amiad has agreed to acquire Arkal Filtration Systems from Kibbutz Beit Zera and Bermad Industries in Israel, subject to due diligence. The deal will be paid for through a combination of cash and the issuance of new ordinary shares of NIS0.50 ($0.13).

* aqualia has signed a cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia’s National Water Company covering several areas of technical and commercial knowledgetransfer relating to water management.

* Moody’s has downgraded the credit rating of the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) from A3 to A1, reflecting recent disclosures that reveal the increasing conditionality under which support from the Dubai government may be provided. The outlook is negative, although Moody’s added that it views DEWA’s liquidity profile as fairly robust.