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Riyadh waterway nears completion

A project to revitalise one of Riyadh's most important waterways is almost complete in the Saudi Arabian capital.

The redevelopment of Wadi Hanifah, a joint initiative by engineering firm Buro Happold and Canadian architects Moriyama & Teshima, has been shortlisted for an Aga Khan Award after being officially opened by Riyadh's governor in April.

Running through the heart of Riyadh, Wadi Hanifah was once the city's main source of ground water used agriculturally, for drinking water and as a food supply. However due to over-reliance on the Wadi's underground water reserves the water table has fallen so low that most of the city's water supply has to be piped from desalination plants at great cost from the coast 350km away.

In 2001 Buro Happold and Moriyama & Teshima were commissioned to plan the restoration and development of the Wadi as an environmental, recreational and tourism resource. The focus of the masterplan was to restore the Wadi's natural beauty, spoilt by decades of unfettered dumping and development, as well as harnessing and rehabilitating its water.

This next stage in the masterplan for Wadi Hanifah will see a further reversal of environmental damage, and the improvement of the water quality.

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