Water Shortage in Saudi Arabia
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Water Shortage in Saudi Arabia

The plight facing Saudi Arabia in regard to it's problematic water supply.

Although rich in oil, Saudi Arabia suffers from a poor quality of service in regard to drinking water. The scarcity of water is one of the biggest challenges facing the Arab world in the modern era. Arab governments were urged to tackle the problem before it escalates and creates a major catastrophe. Saudi has been targeted as a problem area and the country has held numerous water and power forums to help develop ideas, investments and projects capable of offering a remedy to this desperate situation.

Saudi’s Water Resources

Saudi is devoid of any perennial rivers and is renowned as one of the driest regions in the world. 50% of the drinking water in the region comes from desalination (the removal of salts and other minerals from water), 40% from the mining of non-renewable groundwater and 10% from surface water. The Saudi capital, Riyadh runs on desalinated water which is supplied via a pump from the Persian Gulf that stretches over a distance of 467 km. Water is only available in Riyadha few days a week, while in Jeddah the situation is a lot worse, with the water supply operating only once every nine days.

Water Supply And Sanitation In Saudi

Since the turn of the century, the Saudi government put increased pressure on private companies to maintain the water and sanitation infrastructure. Investments in sea-water, desalination, water distribution and sewerage treatment have led to improved standards in the quality of drinking water and sanitation, but the situation remains far from perfect.

Water Use In Saudi

At the 2010 Saudi Water and Power Forum, it was revealed that the groundwater which is consumed in Saudi Arabia is up to four times as much as of the renewed water annually.

According to a 2004 study from the School of Oriental and African Studies, “one half of Saudi householders still have no municipal water connections and two thirds are without sanitation connections.”

Drinking Water In Saudi

Saudi’s quality of drinking water service remains below the standards of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. The country’s population is predicted to rise by six million over the next ten years. With a estimated consumption of 300 litres per person each day, the predicted chronic water shortage in the region is worrying. New desalination plants are planned, alongside a more concentrated reuse of treated water. However, a clear cut solution to Saudi’s potential drought has still not been found.

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