Accra Sea Water Desalination Plant, Ghana

Accra Sea Water Desalination Plant

The Accra sea water desalination plant, the first desalination plant built in Ghana, is located at Nungua in the Kpeshie district, 12km east of Ghana's capital city Accra. The plant started commercial operations in March 2015 and was officially inaugurated in April 2015.

The $125m project has a capacity to desalinate 60,000m3 of sea water a day providing fresh water to more than 300,000 people in various municipalities of the Greater Accra administrative region. The project marks a significant step in improving drinking water facilities in the country, which is witnessing rapid population growth.

The plant was designed, constructed and is being operated by Befesa Desalination Developments Ghana, a joint venture of Abengoa Water Investments Ghana, Daye Water Investment (Ghana), and their local partner Hydrocol. Befesa operates and maintains the plant for 25 years.

Construction of the plant, which started in November 2012, created 400 direct and indirect jobs in the region.

Purpose of Ghana's first desalination plant

The Shuwaikh RO Project involves the construction of a sea water desalination plant in the Kingdom of Kuwait.

Accra has an estimated population of three million people. With the growing population, Ghana is struggling to meet the required water demands of the people from the surrounding towns and villages. The existing water resources are enough to meet just 50% of the 800,000m3/day of water required.

To address this issue, the Ghanaian authorities have prioritised water supply projects under the country's Economic Recovery Program.

The Accra sea water desalination plant was constructed as a part of the programme and enables drinking water supply to more than 500,000 residents in the towns of Teshie, Nungua and Tema. It helps reduce the occasional water shortages in the area and contributes to the growth of the local economy.

Background to the Accra desalination project

A contract was signed between Abengoa and Ghana Water Limited Company (GWCL), the state's public water trading company, for the construction and operation of a new desalination plant in the town of Nungua in April 2011.

The design, build, operate, maintain, own and possibly transfer (DBOT) contract also included the installation of infrastructure required for the seawater intake, ultra-filtration pre-treatment system, desalination technology, and for efficient energy recovery solutions.

"The project is expected to generate revenue of approximately $1.3m over the 25-year period."

The GWCL buys the potable water from the company through a purchase agreement and distributes the same to the residents and businesses in the Teshie-Nungua area. The project is expected to generate revenue of approximately $1.3m over the 25-year period.

Accra sea water desalination plant details

The project involved the construction of a 60,000m3/day seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant in a 6.1-acre site situated at the beachfront, 400m west of the Nungua fish landing site.

"The outfall is buried in a covered trench to protect it from the sea waves."

The desalination plant includes four trains, which feature two high pressure pumps, one standby pump and 12 energy recovery systems each. The plant uses reverse osmosis technique to convert sea water into potable water. It converts half of the intake water into potable produce water while the remaining water drains out through outfall brine.

The plant utilises 146,400m3 of raw intake water to produce 60,000m3 of potable water and 70,000m3 of rejected brine water a day.
Other facilities constructed on the site include intake pipe, outfall pipe and a parking lot. The outfall pipe is 150m-long and features four diffusers, located 4m apart, at its terminus. The outfall is buried in a covered trench to protect it from the sea waves.

Water from the desalination plant is being delivered to a GWCL connection point by Befesa Desalination Developments Ghana through pipes.


The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance arm of the World Bank Group, sanctioned a loan of $179m for the project in November 2012.

The investors have applied for MIGA guarantees for a period of up to 20 years for the equity investments, 14 years for the shareholder loans, and 12 years for the non-shareholder loans.

NRI Energy Technology