Government, Integrated Resources Management, Middle East/Africa, Water
A Framework for Jeddah's Future
From the eighth to twelfth day of the last month of the Islamic calendar, hundreds of thousands of people embark on the Hajj—a pilgrimage to Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Islam’s holiest city. Jeddah City, the second largest in Saudi Arabia, serves as the gateway for worldwide travelers coming to fulfill this religious duty met by every able-bodied Muslim. Also the largest seaport on the Red Sea and located at the heart of the industrial capitals of the Middle East and northern Africa, Jeddah is a commercial hub with more than 3.5 million full-time residents.
Jeddah has never had a plan with this level of detail--it will be an important asset in protecting public health and preserving the environment.
As a city experiences growth and opportunity,
it also must meet demands and prepare for the future. Understanding that its existing infrastructure cannot sustain Jeddah’s current and rising needs, the National Water Company (NWC) asked CDM Smith to develop an integrated water and wastewater master plan for the city. “The result will be an invaluable planning tool for NWC to understand what the city’s infrastructure capability is and what must happen to accommodate growth for the next 25 years,” says Montazar Muhalhal, director of the NWC Strategic Planning Division.
“This will be a detailed road map for the future,” adds Dr. Khalil Atasi, CDM Smith senior vice president. “We will identify needed improvements, prioritize tasks and determine how NWC should allocate funds. Jeddah has never had a plan with this level of detail—it will be an important asset in protecting public health and preserving the environment.”
Planning Today, Protecting Tomorrow
Hydraulic modeling will be used to evaluate the capacity of the collection and distribution systems and determine the expansion needed to accommodate future demand. Water pipes, sewers and pumping stations will be considered, and recommendations will be specific and detailed, including the size and number of pipes needed. Currently, approximately 70 percent of Jeddah is not serviced by the wastewater collection system—tanker trucks must haul sewage for disposal at various wastewater treatment facilities within the area—making system expansion an important element of the plan.
According to Atasi, “We are accounting for increases in water demand over the next 25 years on a daily and seasonal basis. Seasonal demands will have a major influence on our analysis, since Jeddah’s population increases so dramatically during the Hajj.” The team is also evaluating the ability of the water treatment facilities to accommodate the city’s water demand throughout the 25-year planning horizon.
Every Option for Every Drop
“One option the team will assess is decentralized wastewater treatment systems within some of the city’s sewer districts,” explains Atasi. Rather than increasing the capacity of the central facility to meet needs, a plan may be developed to implement this decentralized approach. At local facilities, the wastewater would be treated to a high quality, making it suitable for local reuse within the district, such as for street flushing and landscape irrigation.
CDM Smith will investigate water reclamation and other conservation measures with the understanding that in arid Saudi Arabia, every drop counts. The Red Sea is the main source of the country’s water supply, and almost 100 percent of the supply must be desalinated to meet drinking water standards.
In addition, the plan will consider disposal practices, looking at possible environmental impacts of sewage disposal to the Red Sea. If necessary, sewer ordinances and discharge limits will be established to protect the integrity of the wastewater treatment system and possible beneficial use of biosolids in the future.
The detailed plan will incorporate an expansion of wastewater treatment capacity to protect public and environmental health.
Down to the Last Detail
The master plan will be a capital improvement program, outlining projects to implement in 5-year increments for the next 25 years—starting with imminent needs that must be prioritized, due to threats to public or environmental health. CDM Smith will also prepare a budget and financing guidelines, based on each individual program's capital costs, operation and maintenance costs, and revenue generation from user fees.
“The secret to our success will be attention to the details. This includes everything from outlining the technical components of the master plan to holding regularly scheduled outreach meetings with civic leaders and stakeholders,” says Tarik Pekin, CDM Smith principal project manager. “Our challenge is to develop a massive plan—including collection, treatment and distribution—in only 1 year. NWC’s cooperation has been paramount.”
Atasi agrees that the partnership is noteworthy, “CDM Smith’s relationship with NWC has been incredibly positive. NWC’s employees are truly devoted to facilitating successful development of the plan in any way they can.”
This commitment is a reflection of the project’s importance to NWC and the people of Jeddah. According to Muhalhal, “The integrated master plan for water and wastewater represents a significant step in the city’s future. It will enable NWC to offer world-class service, supporting the city’s sustainable growth and becoming an example of modern infrastructure in the Kingdom.”