A Dow ultrafiltration plant

A Dow ultrafiltration plant

Advancing waste water technologies

Dow is continually exploring new technologies in a more innovative way to help promote wastewater recycling in the region as a means of addressing the region’s water concerns

May 2017

Water reuse technologies are emerging as a vital solution to address the Middle East region›s water shortage challenges, according to Dow Water & Process Solutions (DW&PS), which points out that with proper treatment, industrial and municipal wastewater can be reused for beneficial purposes such as drinking water, agricultural and landscape irrigation and industrial processes, enabling communities and countries to stretch limited freshwater supplies.

“More than 70 per cent of wastewater is reused in most of the GCC countries, and governments are aiming for 100 per cent reuse of treated sewage effluent within the next few years,” said Zakia Bahjou, regional commercial manager, Dow Water & Process Solutions, MEA&T.

Saudi Arabia’s water consumption has exceeded 8 million cubic meters per day (mcmd), and is expected to reach 20 mcmd by 2020. The kingdom is the largest country in the world without running surface water and has been dependent on desalinated water since the 1950s. With daily water consumption at more than 300 litres per capita, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest levels of water consumption per capital in the world. In the next several years, it also is expected to become the third largest water reuse market in the world after the US and China, according to the Sustainable Water Alliance.

The kingdom aims to reuse over 65 per cent of its water by 2020 and over 90 per cent by 2040 by transforming its existing and planned wastewater treatment assets into source water suppliers across most industrial sectors. The National Water Company has allocated approximately $1.5 billion to future wastewater treatment plants and $2 billion for wastewater pipe mains nationwide. In 2015, the Ministry of Water and Electricity, now the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, signed more than 75 water and sewage projects worth more than $425 million to be implemented in various regions of the kingdom.

In 2013, Saudi Arabia reused less than 20 per cent of its treated sewage effluent (TSE), a strong alternative to desalinated water in non-potable applications. In comparison, Bahrain and Qatar have demonstrated 100 percent reuse of TSE for agriculture and industrial purposes.



Advancing wastewater technologies have empowered Middle Eastern countries to set their sights on dramatically increased reuse targets. The key to the success of a wastewater reuse programme is tertiary filtration, capable of consistently producing a high quality effluent while enhancing the disinfection process – both chlorination and UV – and improving water quality. Good tertiary filters offer the benefit of lowering total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity and biological oxygen demand to meet the required discharge permits. From the standpoint of cost and technical efficiency, biological treatment has proven to be an excellent tertiary treatment technology for reuse applications.

Dow’s project at Park Hyatt hotel in Dubai, UAE

Dow’s project at Park Hyatt hotel in Dubai, UAE

“Dow has been at the forefront of efforts to help promote wastewater recycling in the Middle East as a means of addressing the region’s water concerns. We are continually exploring new technologies and looking to utilise the existing technologies we have in a more innovative way. To make this happen, our key success factor is the engineering competencies in integrating our technologies in tailor made solutions designed selectively and uniquely for each case we have,” Bahjou said.

In the Middle East, Dow has a wide list of references for such integrated technologies through its products such as Dow Fulmtec membranes, Dow Ultrafiltration modules and Aqucar Biocide technologies that help millions of people across the region access a sustainable source of potable water in some of the most water-challenged areas of the region, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman, he added.

For example, a Riyadh water treatment project in Saudi Arabia features 13 unique high recovery Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis (BWRO) plants designed with the latest integrated DW&P solutions to treat high temperature, high iron and high salinity deep well water. Other important water treatment projects for Dow in the region are the Al Ain Dairy and Park Hyatt Dubai wastewater reuse projects. These projects demonstrate that sustainable water reuse practices are also profitable as Dow technologies help shift the cooling and utility water sources from high cost desalinated seawater to low cost treated wastewater.

Park Hyatt Dubai, a five-star hotel, installed a system with Dow Ultrafiltration technology to safely and effectively treat water from Dubai Municipality. Dow›s membranes filter and process 148,300 cubic metres of water annually for the hotel. The water is used to supply its HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) towers which, in turn, help cool the resort’s 225 luxury rooms and suites. The overall system has helped the hotel save as much as 154,880 cubic metres of potable water since it was launched in 2010.

As for Al Ain Dairy, the UAE’s leading dairy producer, they are using Dow Ultrafiltration and Dow Filmtec technologies to reuse 300,000 cubic litres of treated wastewater per day. Dow technology filters and purifies the treated wastewater, which is then sprayed through an automated cooling system to keep the dairy cows cool and comfortable during the summer season, thereby maintaining optimal dairy production levels. The treated wastewater is also used for irrigation and cleaning purposes.



Large volumes of wastewater are generated daily in every community and at water-intensive industrial facilities, such as chemical, petrochemical, pulp and paper, textile, steel and food and beverage plants. As the demand for water grows due to global water scarcity and increasing population, so does demand for the treatment and reuse of this water.

This makes wastewater treatment and recycling a strategic imperative both for human and economic development. This is especially relevant in the Middle East. Meeting the region’s water needs is increasingly becoming a priority for local governments. Regional utility companies are actively engaged in managing issues such as limited rainfall, recoverable water resources and a growing population.

“The component technologies offered by Dow enable industrial and municipal wastewaters to be turned into a valuable resource. Together, the Tequatic Plus fine particle filter, Filmtec reverse osmosis elements and IntegraFlo ultrafiltration membrane technology are driving energy efficiency and cost savings in municipal and industrial wastewater reclamation processes. In addition our selective ion exchange media and adsorbents are helping customers and communities meet more stringent discharge requirements for waters that cannot be reused directly,” Bahjou said.

Dow is a participant in the CEO Water Mandate, which seeks to make a positive impact with respect to the emerging global water crisis by mobilising companies to advance water sustainability solutions in partnership with the United Nations, civil society organisations, governments, and other stakeholders. This voluntary initiative creates a platform to share best and emerging practices and to forge multi-stakeholder partnerships to address the problems of access to water and sanitation.


The following are the two examples of how Dow is practicing sustainable water treatment internally:

• In Dow’s Terneuzen facility in The Netherlands, its second largest plant globally, more than 10,000 cubic metres of municipal waste water are treated from the city of Terneuzen to be used as industrial water to generate steam and feed its manufacturing plants and uses it to generate steam and feed its manufacturing plants. This project reduced the energy consumption by 65 per cent and lowered CO2 emissions by 5,000 tonnes per year;

• In Dow’s Tarragona facility in Spain, the switch to reusing about 20,000 cubic metres per day of municipal wastewater as industrial feedwater increases supply of potable river Ebro water to the growing tourist industry.

More Stories