Biwater has been involved in the provision of water treatment facilities to the continent of Africa for many years. Never has the need for the provision of clean, safe, potable water been a higher priority within the burgeoning populations of the nations of Africa than at the present time. The United Nations’ millennium development goals have pledged to ‘reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water’ and many of you will know that the millennium development goals were set to be achieved by the year 2015. Biwater is pleased to report that it will help to achieve this goal for a large number of people in what is a new African territory for Biwater, the Republic of Sudan.
Sudan is the tenth largest country in the world and the largest country in Africa. It has an area of approximately 2.5 million km², the same size as Argentina, and has a special geopolictical location which joins the Arab nations to the east of the Red Sea. The north-east of the country is contained by the Red Sea and it shares international borders with nine countries; Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the south, the Central African Republic, Chad and Libya in the west, Egypt in the north, and Eritrea and Ethiopia in the east. The Republic of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, has a rich and diverse culture steeped in history. Physically, the country also has extremes of land type with the climate ranging from very arid desert in the north to tropical wet and dry areas in the far southwest of the country.
The Republic of Sudan has been blessed by having one of the world’s greatest river systems, the Nile, flowing through the entire length of the country. The Nile river system is actually three major rivers; the Blue Nile, the White Nile and the Nile. Khartoum is situated inside the apex area formed by the confluence of the Blue and White Niles which merge from their respective sources in Ethiopia and Uganda to form the Nile that flows northwards into the Mediterranean Sea. Adjacent to Khartoum is the sprawling city of Omdurman and it is here that Biwater will be building a £50 million 200Mld potable water treatment plant to supply 1.5 million inhabitants.
A specialised treatment plant
The Omdurman water treatment and optimisation contract uses the River Nile as its source of water. The Nile at the point of extraction has been known to have turbidity of some 23,000NTU in the flood season, while the dry season sees a more usual 130NTU. This vast difference in turbidity caused Biwater to reflect on how best to offer the client, the Khartoum State Water Corporation, value for money and affordability. The plant has to be capable of coping with the vast changes in water quality and water level between the pronounced dry and flood seasons that occur each and every year. In essence, the answer was to design a specialised treatment works involving double clarification using different processes so that the lightest flocs could be removed in the dry season together with the heaviest sediments encountered during the flood season, all prior to conventional rapid gravity filtration.
A water asset management package was placed within the contract scope so that the client could benefit from some institutional strengthening and reduced operating costs. This strengthening will involve leak detection, pressure zoning and metering, customer databases and mapping, and will lead to greater efficiencies within the client’s business. Affordability is further enhanced by the scope of work in the complete contract being placed within an innovative 100% financed deferred payment tariff structure with operation and maintenance being our responsibility until the business loans are repaid.
Biwater believes that the construction and operation of the new water treatment plant in Khartoum will go further to meet the millennium development goals than any other water treatment plant. The Biwater group of companies looks forward to working and developing its relationship with its new client for many years to come.