Abu Dhabi: Utico, the largest private utility company in the UAE, will be investing $195.8 million to build a water desalination plant in Ras Al Khaimah as the demand for water goes up in the country.

Speaking to Gulf News, Managing Director Richard Menezes said the total capacity of the plant would be 24 million gallons per day and the construction is set to be completed by October 2018.

“The first half of the plant would be ready by August next year and the full plant by October 2018. The project is being taken up in joint cooperation with Spanish company Grupo Cobra,” he said.

The project is being funded by three banks through the company’s finance arm called United Ventures and Investments based at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The banks that are funding the project include Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Commercial Bank of Dubai.

The company currently owns four desalination plants with a total capacity of 31 million gallons per day in Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi. It is trying to upgrade two plants that are operational.

“The total capacity of our plants will go up to 65 million gallons per day once the plants are upgraded and the new plant becomes operational. There is a big demand for water in the UAE as the population grows and the GDP figures increase.”

The company has invested Dhs1.6 billion in the last ten years in building the plants, he added.

The company has around 600 consumers including Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa), industries, government departments and seaports in Ras Al Khaimah.

The company also plans to build a coal fired power plant in Ras Al Khaimah with a capacity of 300 mega watts (mw) and two solar plants with a capacity of 120 mw and 24 mw. The targeted date for coal power plant operational is 2019.

“Local utilities are vying to buy the power. Dewa (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) is also planning a coal fire powered plant,” he added.