Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has awarded a $237.2m (AED871m) contract for a desalination plant in Jebel Ali. 

A joint venture of Spain-headquartered Acciona Agua, and Belhasa Six Construct (BESIX) has won the contract, which includes the construction of the 40 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD) facility. 

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The sea-water reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant is being developed with a commissioning deadline of May 2020. 

A two-pass reverse osmosis (RO) system has been selected for the plant, which is expected to meet the reserve margin criteria set for water demand in Dubai in 2020 and beyond. 

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive officer of DEWA, said RO requires 90% less energy than the conventional multi-stage flash (MSF) distillation system, making it "a more sustainable choice" as part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. 

The chief said that using RO would help to expand DEWA's production capacity to 305 million gallons of desalinated water per day by 2030. 

Eventually, the project will deliver 41% of Dubai's desalinated water needs, and boost operational efficiencies, resulting in savings worth $3.5bn (AED13bn). 

Al Tayer added: "The project is in line with our decoupling plans for power production, and water desalination using solar energy.

"The big projects launched by DEWA have contributed in reducing the production cost of electricity through solar energy on a global level, and we continue to decouple electricity production from water desalination to obtain 100% desalinated water using a mix of clean energy and waste heat by 2030."