Riyadh: Arid Saudi Arabia could need more than $53 billion (Dh195 billion) in water sector investment supported by private funds as demand grows, officials said on Sunday. Among government agencies targeted for privatisation is the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), which desalinates water from the Gulf and Red Sea coasts. By 2020 Saudi Arabia is targeting 52 per cent of desalinated water production through “strategic partners”. “Future plants will be tendered to the private sector,” Ali Al Hazmi, SWCC governor, told the government-organised Water Investment Forum. “We have everything ready for privatisation.” The world’s largest oil exporter is pushing to diversify its economy through greater private sector investment and development of new industries.