Gulf of Suez, Egypt

The project is to treat water from the Ismailiya canal and supply industry in the Gulf of Suez area and a new residential community outside Cairo. It is the first major private water scheme in Egypt. The project is also said to involve the largest water processing facility in the Middle East. Official commissioning is due to begin in March 2002, it is currently undergoing pre-commissioning tests, both dry-run and with water.

The public authority responsible for the project is the Central Authority for Development (CAD). CAD is affiliated to the Housing, Utilities and New Urban Communities Ministry. As well as support from the Egyptian government, the project has also benefited from support by the Canadian government.

Major investment is needed in the Egyptian water infrastructure, as the country has a rapidly growing population and limited resources. The growing wealth per head adds pressure, as water consumption tends to increase with general wealth. Hence, the government of Egypt is interested in pursuing schemes that allow the country's population to spread out from its traditional concentration in the Nile Valley, as well as schemes to reduce the overall consumption of agriculture and other sources.


The new project has four main components:

  • Refurbishing, expansion, and operation and maintenance (O&M) of the existing water treatment plant. Processing capacity at the plant is to be raised from the present 170,000 cubic metres/day to 225,000 cubic metres/day
  • Construction of a potable water transmission main from 10 Ramadan City to north west Suez on a build own operate transfer (BOOT) basis. Initial capacity is expected to be about 50,000 cubic metres/day;
  • Supervision of the construction of the second treatment plant at 10 Ramadan City, for which the contract was awarded to France's OTV last year, and provision of O&M services. This plant will have a capacity of 340,000 cubic metres/day;
  • Construction on a BOOT basis of a new water treatment plant in 10 Ramadan City, together with an intake facility on the Ismailiya Canal and a transmission main. The plant will have a capacity of 200,000 cubic metres/day and will supply north east Cairo and the Suez area.

The project was originally intended to serve the Suez industrial zone, but its main aim has been changed to serving Ramadan City (which is a new urban development in the area). Of the 775,000 cubic metres/day of treated water, only 50,000 cubic metres/day will go to Suez in the initial phase.

The contract for the fourth main element (relating to the Ismailaya main) was signed in April 2000. It was worth $180 million, and was awarded to a Canadian led consortium, which was headed by SNC Lavalin. SNC Lavalin Inc. will own 50% of the project, and operate both the plant that its consortium will build and two others. This operation concession is expected to last about 30 years. There are three local partners as well in the consortium as well as SNC Lavalin itself: International Group for Investments (IGI), Intec and the Egypt Kuwait Holding Company. This team beat off several other competitors.

The Canadian led consortium was probably helped in its efforts to win the contract by support and aid from the Canadian government.

A second plant is now being built by France's OTV (which is a well known contractor in the water industry), and a third is expected to be included as part of the new conveyor system. OTV used its branded Filtraflo filters at the plant. The water from the plants will be sold to CAD.