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24th November 2010 marked the inauguration of the Aftout‐Essahli project, whose installations are now operational and under the management of the National Water Company (Société Nationale de l’Eau). It constitutes the overall solution for the supply of drinking water from the Senegal River to the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott. Its 451 million dollar funding was provided by financial backers from Arab countries and the Mauritanian government. As part of this project, SADE constructed in less than 36 months nearly 200 kilometres of Ø 1,100mm and 1,400mm pipework together with the related facilities required to supply the treatment plant.
What does the Aftout‐Essahli project involve?
It’s the overall solution for the supply of drinking water to Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, from the Senegal River flowing nearly 200 kilometres to the south. Its current capacity of 170,000m3 per day will satisfy demand until 2020 – and even until 2030 if you consider its upgradability to 226,000m3 per day.
How has SADE contributed to this achievement?
The project was split into five sections. The fourth, by far the largest, was allocated to SADE as part of an international tender held in 2006: it covered the water transfer ducting from the Senegal riverbank pumping stations to the pre‐treatment and treatment plants.
What did SADE have to complete within 36 months?
Between Aftout, the Senegal riverbank pumping station, and Béni‐Najdi where the water pre‐treatment plant is located, SADE had to lay two parallel Ø 1,100 mm cast‐iron pipes in a 6 kilometre long dyke to be constructed on compressible soil. In particular, it was also required to lay nearly 170 kilometres of buried 1,400mm cast‐iron pipes and related facilities between Béni‐Nadji and Nouakchott (PK17).
What organisation did you set up?
With SADE being Europe’s leading hydraulic contractor, the project was therefore well within the parameters of our core business. In addition to the expertise to be developed on‐site, it was basically a question of dealing with the distances, the local and even climatic conditions and the project extent.
Difficulties therefore mainly concerned logistics and organisation. We successfully solved these by setting up a team of experts both from France to manage the project and from our operations in the sub‐region (Senegal, Burkina‐Faso, Ghana) who supervised our locally‐recruited personnel and our partners and sub‐contractors.
How was your relationship with the Mauritanian authorities?
Right from the very first day, we worked closely together in an atmosphere of trust and complete transparency at an exceptionally high level of quality dialogue. The financial backers’ representatives also closely monitored the project. On 30 September 2010, ownership of our section was transferred when the provisional acceptance certificate was signed. Final taking‐over should occur by 30 September 2011. Our mutual satisfaction lies in the fact that since 12 October 2010, water has been flowing to Nouakchott via our installations and therefore to the taps of those consumers who are connected.
Managed by the Major Projects Department, this contract is the largest ever handled by SADE: