May. 26, 2021


Sulaiman AI Qasmi

Oman

Sulaiman AI Qasmi

Acting CEO, Haya Water

“We are currently focusing on the merger program and on increasing our number of customers by connecting at least 10,000 properties in Muscat.”

BIO

Sulieman bin Khamis bin Hamed Al Qasmi is a top-tier strategic management professional, with sound academic qualifications and a total experience of 35+ years in both the governmental and private sectors. Having more than 27 years' experience in infrastructure support management, strategy setting, budgeting, policy, and implementation. In addition to that, he possesses a vast knowledge and a sound experience in developing vision, missions, strategic objectives, strategic themes, business plans, and master plans. From 1985 to now he has held eight challenging and strategic positions, assignments, and positions with renowned governmental and private sector organizations, and is currently CEO of Haya Water.


What were the most recent developments at Haya Water in the past year?

2020 was both a challenging and an interesting year for us. In spite of all the problems, we managed to commission two major projects that we have in Muscat, which are the New Darsait Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) which is worth around OMR32 million, and theAI Amerat Sewage treatment plant worth OMR25 million. It is a state-of-the­ art sewage plant that does not look like a sewage treatment plant but rather like a mall with beautiful buildings. The technology is top notch in terms of odor and appearance. Both treatment plants use Membrane Biological Reactor (MBR) technology, which is considered to be the best applied system in the world in wastewater treatment and results in obtaining a treated effluent of high quality without any pollutants. The plants also incorporate a chemical odor treatment system that minimizes the potential impact of odors on the plant environment. The New Darsait Sewage Treatment Plant will serve the areas of Hamriyah, Ruwi, Bait AI Falaj, Darsait, Coastal Darsait, AI Aynt, Muttrah, and Muscat and will cater to all issues of sewage overflows and non-connectivity issues to properties of the area, and we might expand it further to 50,000cbm and AI Amerat sewage treatment plant currently 18,000cbm and we might expand it further to 37,500cbm based on the pace of development. This was a great achievement in 2020. We also launched the first PPP project in 2020 and, hopefully, by the end of 2021we are going to award this project.

What will your role be as the main utility company?

To date, Haya Water has been overseeing wastewater systems in Muscat and Regional Governorates (except Dhofar), and PAW "Diam" has been overseeing potable water systems. The merger of the two is a major step that we have been expecting for a long time. Now, we are going to have one entity called Haya Water that will look after both water and wastewater all over Oman except in Dhofar Government. There is also a step where there will be a transfer of assets in terms of ownership from the government t to this entity. I n terms of billing, we had challenges, but this will help us be much more efficient. This will attract more investors in both water and wastewater.

How are you working toward international expansion?

We like to work with many international organizations in terms of knowledge transfer and importing technologies into the country that could suit our country and provide the best, efficient technology in desalination or wastewater treatment. Currently, we work with many organizations and import technologies from China, Japan, Germany, and more to build our own asset; however, we are also looking to work with foreign investors when it comes to constructing sewage treatment plants. They will execute it via the PPP model, and after some 25 years they will transfer it to us.

What new technologies are you implementing in order to increase the quality of wastewater services?

Oman has some of the strictest standards worldwide in terms of wastewater treatment-These standards call for tertiary treatment by using membrane and UF technologies, but we are also working with research centers to develop in-house technologies. We established our own team for R&D. In 2017; for example, we managed to test the sand filters, which typically do not meet the right standards, and repair them. This technology will reduce the cost of treatment in the future.

Is the current regulatory environment welcoming toward SMEs?

We do not have to wait for the regulator to help SMEs, as it is part of our standards at Haya Water. We spent OMR4 million in 2020 on small companies to do projects with us and have a system for registering SMEs and helping them. We provide them training where we bring them here and give them a framework to work with. Now, for example, house connections can only be done by SMEs. In 2021, we have pledged to give 10,000 connections, most of them only for SMEs. We have around 28 SMEs who only do house connections. We hope they will grow further, align more together, and become better companies that can participate in bigger projects.

What are some of the major trends in Oman that you are incorporating into your strategy?

One of the major trends that we are pushing for at Haya Water is the water reuse programs. We produce around 180,000cbm of treated water daily, through sewer systems that serve 1million people. We have to clean the water, bring it back, and allow it to be reused, and this water can have a great impact on the economy if we use it for food security, manufacturing, and so on. We have managed to utilize 50-60% of this water though unfortunately, for the other 40% there are no projects. In order to utilize this water, we initiated the Barka project that supplys water to farms outside of Muscat. We can supply water to around 135 producing farms, and the farmers are pleased with this. We initiated a project in March to work with investors on the basis of shared revenues. They will come and build the network for these farms from our main trunk line and main pipe and implement a distribution system where they can sell the water and we share the revenue. We are in the process of signing an MoU with the Omani Food Holding Company, which will develop the farms. Another of our initiatives is using treated water to farm trees that can generate castor oil and/or bio diesel. To this end we signed an agreement with OQ where it will take the water and plant trees. We are currently in the phase of developing the business plan. We are working with international companies that have experience in doing similar work.

What are your objectives and growth priorities for the next 12 months?

We are currently focusing on the merger program and on increasing our number of customers by connecting at least 10,000 properties in Muscat. We are also focusing on efficiency to reduce our operating costs to become more commercial. One important project is the conversion of waste to energy, done together with be'ah and Majis, which I call “waste to value". We used to convert sludge to compost, but now we convert it to power. This way, we can be self-sufficient in terms of power and become a green organization that does not use any fossil oil in its STPs. We estimate we can produce around 12MW of power, and this can cover all our STPs within Muscat.