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Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services to take privatisation route

posted on 28/11/2005: 2775 views

The newly formed Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company with assets valued at Dh9 billion is poised for privatisation, following the same model of the water and power companies, a top official said yesterday. He also said the company would soon embark on a Dh900 million expansion plan of its two major water treatment plants in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

"We are looking for a strategic investor to take share of the existing assets and finance new assets. We will follow the same process as the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority's IWPP (independent water and power projects) model," said Bob Taylor, ADSSC Managing Director.

"Later on, we will look at privatisation of other parts of the business like waste-water collection, distribution and so on," he told the MEED Conference on Middle East Water Reuse. "Our asset replacement value today is Dh9 billion and we have two major wastewater treatment plants, one in Mafraq, Abu Dhabi and the other in Al Ain that cater to about 90 per cent of the flow."

There are also 22 minor wastewater treatment plants in the emirate. Total capacity stands at 350,000 cubic metres per day with 7,500 km of sewer and 300 pumping stations. The company is planning to pump in fresh investments in additional treatment capacity. "We are looking at Dh900 million expansion of the two major plants and that is a significant investment."

ADSSC also has the freedom to raise finance through various means for future investments, he said. Currently in a transitional phase from the Abu Dhabi Municipality managed sewerage services, ADSSC is being reorganised on an international model. Private sector participation is also not ruled out. "The involvement of the private sector so far has been good and Abu Dhabi Municipality has outsourced jobs. We will continue and improve on that," he said.

Bullish about prospects, Taylor said commercial possibilities for the company are bright in Abu Dhabi in view of the upcoming industrial cities and massive developments in the tourism and residential sectors. Abu Dhabi Residents of Abu Dhabi may soon have to pay sewerage charges in addition to their water and electricity bills, a senior official said yesterday.

"Right now sewerage services are free in Abu Dhabi but soon we plan to introduce charges to offset the subsidy coming from the government," said Bob Taylor, Managing Director of the newly formed Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company.

This new company was formed in June this year through an Emiri decree and is a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea). "The introduction of such charges is a challenge because such a service was free. But people must understand what the company is doing and ours is an invisible service," he said at the MEED Conference on Middle East Water Reuse.

As a newly formed company, ADSSC will take over the management of sewerage services, drainage and treatment of effluents from the Abu Dhabi Municipality. At present, residents of Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman are paying sewerage charges.

Taylor said the new company will soon roll out its plans and strategy. "We are a new company and we are in a transitional phase. About 1,500 employees of the municipality will be transferred to the new company and we have to demarcate our services from the municipality.

Fady Juez, Managing Director, Metito (Overseas) Ltd, and an expert in wastewater, told Gulf News that Abu Dhabi is changing and residents may soon have to pay higher water tariffs.

"People have to get used to it and like Dubai, these charges could be included in the water and electricity bills." It is not known whether nationals will have to pay these charges. Currently, nationals are exempt from paying water and electricity for their residences. As a subsidiary of Adwea, ADSSC falls under the ambit of the Regulation and Supervision Bureau. (The Gulf News)


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