Hamma: Honored for Its Impact on Life in Algiers
To wash your hands, to prepare food for dinner, to quench your thirst … they all take clean water. These and other crucial uses of drinking water are why the Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant in Algeria was this month honored with an international development award.
Algerian Energy Company, which owns the Hamma plant, was presented with the 2016 Impact Award in the Critical Infrastructure category by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution.
The plant – which was majority financed by GE and uses advanced GE reverse osmosis seawater desalination technology – first began supplying clean drinking water to hundreds of thousands of families in and around the capital city of Algiers in 2008.
“The Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant is critical to the people of our country,” said Ahcene Ouzane, general manager of Algerian Energy Company. “Drought and extreme high demand for water forced our residents and businesses into frequent water rationing. The plant now provides a simple and economic solution that guarantees ongoing access to fresh water for Algerians.”
OPIC’s Impact Awards, now in its third year, recognize exceptional achievement in international private-sector development. Judges consider other criteria including the project’s positive development impact and its ability to meet OPIC’s high standards covering the environment and human rights, including worker’s rights.
The plant produces 200,000 cubic meters/day (53 million gallons/day) of clean drinking water. The largest desalination plant in Africa at the time it was built, the Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant was the first reverse osmosis desalination plant in Africa to be funded by public and private investment. GE also was awarded a 25-year contract to operate and maintain the plant.
Algerian Energy Company (AEC) is a joint-venture owned equally by Sonatrach and Sonelgaz, responsible for the promotion of strategic scale with national and international partnerships in the energy sector. AEC is responsible for 13 seawater desalination stations including 11 in operation to achieve the capacity of 2.1 million m3/day, and the acquisition of interests in three power plants with 2,375 MWh in scope.