SAUDI ARABIA – The sale of the Ras Al-Khair desalination facility—the largest in the world—has been described as a “game-changer” in a document outlining the future of the country’s vast privatization program. Officials have extolled the significance of the sale of the 1,025,000 m3/day hybrid plant despite delays to the the brownfield privatization scheme laid out by the plant’s owner, the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC). Although an RFP had been expected to materialise early this year, the company’s deputy governor Abdullah Al-Abdulkarim has hinted that sale of the other facilities may be imminent.
TAIWAN – The Formosa Plastics Group (FPG) recently received an Environment Impact Assessment approval for a desalination plant at its Mailiao industrial complex in Yunlin County. The $184.36 million plant will be designed in collaboration with Israeli-firm IDE technologies and produce between 20,000 and 105,000 m3/day of water. FPG has been accused by environmentalists of using too much water from Nantou County’s Jiji Dam reservoir, requiring the company to pursue alternative water sources, including desalination.
Although Taiwan receives on average 2,500 millimeters of rainfall every year, the country’s reservoirs can only store about six weeks’ worth of water, which means that frequent rainfall is essential for their resupply. The island has experienced several water shortages when rainfall has been insufficient to maintain water reserves.
MALTA – A 9 km underground water tunnel has been proposed in Malta to transport water from the Pembroke Reverse Osmosis plant to a reservoir in Ta’ Qali. The quality of groundwater in Malta has been declining in recent years due to over-extraction and agricultural pollution, and it is already blended with desalinated seawater in order to meet EU regulations. The water tunnel is intended to reduce the amount of water abstracted from the ground to avoid further pressure on the water table and to increase the amount of desalinated water in the country’s water supply.
DUBAI – Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has announced that it has signed a $53 million contract with General Electric (GE) to extend the lifespan of the GE 9E gas turbines at the Jebel Ali Power and Desalination Station.  The three GE 9E gas turbines were installed at E Station in 1989. The work on the project is expected to commence in the first quarter of next year and conclude by 2021.
A rendition of the Ras Al Khair Desalination Plant, Credit: Water-Technology.net
PAKISTAN – The federal government of Pakistan announced plans for a new desalination project in Karachi. The Federal Minister for Finance, Mufta Ismail Friday, stated in a budget speech for the National Assembly that this plant will be built by the private sector and have a capacity of 227,304m3/d.
 “Progress soon on ‘game-changing’ Saudi desal sale”, globalwaterintel.com, April 26, 2018.
<https://www.globalwaterintel.com/news/2018/17/progress-soon-on-game-changing-saudi-desal-sale> accessed April 30, 2018.
 Timoty Ferry “Desalination in a Rainforest: Taiwan Faces Water Shortages”, topics.amcham.com.tw, April 25, 2018.
<https://topics.amcham.com.tw/2018/04/desalination-in-a-rainforest-taiwan-faces-water-shortages/> accessed April 30, 2018.
 James Debono “Water tunnel to increase national reliance on desalination”, maltatoday.com.mt, April 29, 2018.
<https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/environment/environment/85927/water_tunnel_pembroke_taqali_reverse_osmosis_desalination> accessed April 30, 2018.
 Gavin Davids “GE agrees to $53m deal to extend lifetimes of Jebel Ali Power and Desalination turbines by 12 years”, meconstructionnews.com, April 29, 2018.
<http://meconstructionnews.com/28993/ge-agrees-53m-deal-to-extend-lifetimes-of-jebel-ali-power-and-desalination-turbines-by-12-years> accessed April 30, 2018.
 Shoaib Ur Rehman “Govt to set up desalination plant to resolve water issue in Karachi: Minister”, brecorder.com, April 27, 2018.
<https://www.brecorder.com/2018/04/27/414757/govt-to-set-up-desalination-plant-to-resolve-water-issue-in-karachi-minister/> accessed April 30, 2018.