Utilities Development Company

Sulaibiya Projects

The Beginning

The Project Journey started in 1998 with the pre-qualification of consortia that include local and foreign investors, in addition to specialized contractors for building a wastewater treatment and reclamation plant under Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) scheme in line with the State of Kuwait Government’s plan to target the effective participation of the private sector in building up the national economy, through the execution of infrastructure projects.

Such projects were previously restricted to the Governmental Sector. In addition, the Government plan targets the local Private Sector to participate in strategic projects and at the same time encourage foreign investors to participate in the development process. This has been achieved in Sulaibiya Plant Project.

In 1999, the Government of the State of Kuwait, represented by the Ministry of Finance, invited group that had previously been qualified to submit their offers as investors to build and operate this plant for a period of thirty years, after which its ownership would be transferred to the Government of the State of Kuwait, and each grouping included a foreign investor to benefit Kuwait in the field of technology transfer.

Development Period

Signing the Concession Contract on 7th May 2001 was the start of a series of meetings and extensive communications between more than 10 cities around the Globe. However, most of these meetings were held in Kuwait and the working hours during this 14- month development period exceeded 300,000-man hours. This period ended on 7th July 2002.

During that period, the basic design of the Project was completed, and on 24th June 2002 the Facility Agreement was signed with National Bank of Kuwait, Gulf Bank and the Bank of Kuwait and the Middle East. Also, the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract (EPC); and the Operation and Maintenance Contract which continues until the end of the Concession period, were also signed. 

On 7th July 2002, both the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities Development Company signed a document… a document announcing the commencement of the Concession Period and the start of the Construction.

The Construction Phase

Over the course of 29 months, the efforts of several Al-Kharafi Group Companies joined forces, in addition to the German Philip Holzman Company, the Italian Company “Italba”, one of subsidiaries of the Ionics Inc. USA. The efforts of these companies have united to complete this pioneering and huge project, which is a source of pride for the State of Kuwait.

By mid-2004, preparations started for the testing, commissioning and operations and on 14th August 2004 the diversion of the wastewater commenced from the old treatment plant at Ardiya to the New Pumping Station at Ardiya, from where it was pumped through the transfer pipelines to Sulaibiya.

After long and intricate series of testing for treatment and reclamation processes, the first drop of reclaimed water was produced from the Plant on Thursday 4th November 2004.

The operation phase of the plant and product water production officially started from 1st Dec 2004

Major Project Benefits

  • Save the Government the financial burden of huge investments.
  • Curb marine environmental pollution as no partially treated wastewater would be disposed off in the Gulf.
  • Reuse of the reclaimed wastewater in a safe manner that preserves the environment.
  • Eliminate the current problem of proliferation of unpleasant odors from the now abandoned conventional wastewater treatment plant at Ardiya
  • The Project has a strategic objective that is to re- charge the reclaimed water into the underground aquifer to be a strategic water reserve for the State of Kuwait.
  • Using the plants products from treated and reclaimed water in KOC projects.
  • The State of Kuwait buys the reclaimed water from the Concessionaire at a competitive price agreed upon in the Concession Contract.
  • When the Concession Period expires, the Plant ownership will be transferred to the State of Kuwait, free of charge. By then, the total savings to the State will be around KD 5.12 billion ($16 billion) over the lifetime of the concession.

    Sulaibiya is the first in a series of similar projects in the region through which problems related to the scarcity of water resources could be solved. Similar projects are also beneficial as they reduce the need to build more expensive seawater desalination plants.

Project Facilities

Sulaibiya Plant Project includes the Preliminary Treatment and Pumping Station at Ardiya, the Transfer Pipelines from Ardiya to Sulaibiya and the Treatment and Reclamation Plant at Sulaibiya.

Ardiya Plant

The preliminary treatment of the wastewater starts with sand and grease removal upon its arrival at Ardiya Pumping Station. After which, the wastewater is directed to three Buffer Tanks each 67 meters diameter and 7 meters depth. These tanks regulate the flows arriving to Ardiya before being pumped to Sulaibiya.

The Pumping Station contains 12 pumps of which 2 are standby, to transfer the wastewater through three pressure pipelines, 1400 millimeter is each extending over 25 kilometers from Ardiya to Sulaibiya.

To safeguard the environment at the Ardiya Pumping Station in view of its proximity from residential areas, all facilities in this Pumping Station are covered. In addition, all those facilities are furnished with state-of-the-art odor control and removal equipment and odor monitoring systems. The Facilities are also surrounded with a green belt of trees to enhance the environment.

Sulaibiya Plant in Numbers

Plant capacity at start of operations

375,000 cubic meters per day
= 82.5 million imperial gallons per day

Plant capacity per expansion

600,000 cubic meter per day
=132 milliion imperial gallons per day

Ardiya site area

60,000 square meters

Sulaibiya site area

850,000 sq. meter Plant – 250,000 sq. meter Plant Operation Facility.    Total 110,000 square meters

Three transfer pipelines (Ardiya-Sulaibiya)

Diameter of each


Length of each

25 km

Concession period

30 years – started 7th July 2002

EPC Trunkey contract duration

29 months – started 7th July 2002

Operation and maintenance period

From 1st Dec 2004 till 7th July 2032

Plant Block Diagram