UAE's Utico to expand workforce with Dh750mn New Desalination Facility Coming on Stream in 2020

UAE's Utico to expand workforce with Dh750mn New Desalination Facility Coming on Stream in 2020
Richard Menezes MD Utico interview and cover shoot at The Address Montegomery 200519 Richard Menezes _UME
Published: 1 October 2019 - 10:40 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Utico, the Middle East’s leading full service utility and the only private water and power company in the UAE today said it will be hiring 100 new employees this year with a new Dh750mn desalination facility coming on stream in 2020.

In a statement, Utico said that while a lion’s share – 60 per cent of the new employment – was for the company’s home market operations in the UAE, new hires were also being looked at for its operations in new markets of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Singapore. The company said it has set a target of maximum hire in the next six months.

“We see an exciting 12 months ahead with capacity expansions, forays into new markets in the region and beyond, and new projects, including significant developments in renewables supporting environment and cyclical economy,” said Mr. Richard Menezes, CEO of Utico.

The new desalination facility at Al Hamra in Ras Al Khaimah within the proximity of the company’s existing operations will make available 30 million gallons of water more every day to consumers of RAK, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Sharjah in the Northern Emirates.

On commissioning of the new facility, the total output of Utico will be 70 million gallons per day.

Water will be supplied from RAK through Utico’s trans-emirates pipeline which it developed last year at an investment of US$100 million. “The high quality drinking water will be available to 2.5 million customers in RAK, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Sharjah,” Mr. Menezes said.

At 100 Imperial gallons per day per person, which is the highest per capita consumption in the world, the total requirement is about 250million gallons per day in the four emirates. Of this, currently Sharjah produces 85-90million gallons, FEWA 35-40million gallons, Utico 30-40, Abu Dhabi 25-35 and rest is from open and bore wells.

Mr. Menezes said that a great amount of water was lost through leakages and other losses termed Non Revenue water (NRW) in these four emirates. This amounts to about 9-30% in some cases (about 20 to 30million gallons per day) which is a waste of energy and does not support climate change mitigation, apart from loss of capital on a daily basis.

Utico’s NRW is only about 2% which is the best in the Middle East. This also makes it the most sustainable.

He said these high per capita consumption and losses in networks particularly has great significance, since UAE Federal authorities and Abu Dhabi have announced a goal of 30 per cent reduction in water and power consumption by 2025, which would then bring the per capita consumption of water to 70 imperial gallons per day per person, similar to the levels as in the US.

“With the achievement of the goal, total demand will drop to 175 million gallons per day. This will mean excess water capacity of 15million gallons per day by 2025. With a 2% increase in population per year, the additional water demand at 70 gallons per day per person, there will be additional 20million gallons per day demand in 2030, which is aligned to the UAE’s national goal of reduction in high consumption,” Mr. Menezes said.

The scope of employment in the context of these goals of conservation and capacity building is high because positions in these areas of expertise and mitigation require skilled and qualified personnel with emphasis on mitigation of the impact of climate change. Sustainability in food security will also be a significant concern for which Utico has been investing in supplying water to farms.

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