water consumption in the Kingdom expected to exceed 20 billion cubic
meters by the year 2010, the authorities are faced with a challenge
— finding the means and resources to ensure consistent water supply
to the fast growing population.
desalinated sea water constitutes around 70 percent of water supply in
Saudi Arabia,” said a new study, which gives an overview of the
water resources in the Gulf region with special reference to Saudi
The study was
carried out by the Dubai-based Middle East Desalination Research
The Kingdom is
the largest producer of desalinated water in the world with an output
amounting to 30 percent of the world’s total. The government has set
up 27 desalination and power plants with a capacity of two million
cubic meters of drinking water and 2,800 megawatts of electricity a
The Saline Water
Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has a 2,000-km long pipeline network,
which connects 29 pumping and mixing stations across the country. Its
108 storage tanks have a total capacity of six million cubic meters.
future investments in the water sector, the study said Saudi Arabia
will need an estimated $200 billion to implement a substantial number
of projects for water desalination and power generation in the next 20
years. The government has decided to use gas as a feedstock in future
desalination projects in order to reduce dependence on oil.
has prepared a comprehensive national plan to ensure water security.
The plan aims at realizing optimum use of water resources and
The plan also
envisages proper utilization of rainwater. Saudi Arabia gets an
average of 100mm rainfall annually, but the mountainous southwestern
region records up to 800mm rainfall. In order to preserve rainwater,
the Kingdom has built 184 dams with a storage capacity of 482 million
SWCC is in the process of setting up new desalination projects with an
installed capacity of over 2.7 million cubic meters daily.
will cater to the water and power requirements of many Saudi cities
and far-flung villages.
On a regional
level, the situation on the waterfront is alarming. Arab countries
represent 10.3 percent of the world’s surface area and 4.5 percent
of the world’s population, but they only possess 0.4 percent of
world’s recoverable water resources and share only two percent of
the world’s total rainfall.