Water quality in Saudi ArabiaIn our world, water is one of the main sources of sustenance for life. As our body requires great amounts of it, it is imperative that we take care of how clean and beneficial it continues to be. As a community, we must work together to meet the high standards of water quality.

Water quality is indicated by various characteristics which include physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic. The main goal is to make sure that the external factors that could corrupt the water are controlled. In this way, citizens are able to obtain clean drinking water for their survival.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a desert country that extends across most of the Arabian Peninsula with extensive coastlines on the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Due to its high levels of heat and humidity, water is a major concern.

The surrounding environment consists of sand, which makes it a challenge to grow crops as well as provide adequate water quality in Saudi Arabia. Most water is received from the sea, however, the high salt content means is it not drinkable. Being one of the largest and fastest expanding expat countries, Saudi Arabia faces a problem of providing enough drinking water for its citizens.

According to a research study on drinking water quality in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Abdulrasoul Al-Omran and his colleagues found that the KSA strongly relies “on groundwater and/or seawater desalination for domestic purposes.” Desalinated water has gone through various chemical processes in order to add specific minerals into the original saline water that will cause it to diminish and thus become safe to drink.

There are 27 stations operated by the Saline Water Conservation Corporation, producing more than three million cubic meters of potable drinking water. 

The water quality index (WQI) has been proven to be a simple and effective tool to assess the quality of water, as well as a method of reassuring citizens. The distinct and astounding feature is that by using several water quality variables, a single value is expressed to tell just how clean this water is in relation to others.

The concluding factor of this study stated that using the WQI method helps the design-makers with monitoring and assessment of the quality of drinking water. By being able to determine the water quality in Saudi Arabia, the country and its citizens will be more fully prepared in finding solutions to best distribute their water.

As an ever-evolving country, Saudi Arabia is striving to keep up with its growth by providing efficient ways to distribute the water. One of the solutions that KSA has found is intermittent water supply with reduced system pressures. Although it isn’t the most efficient, it does grant more water to the people that truly need it. It aims to provide 24-hour service but less water is distributed to the residential areas.

This is a challenging issue to remedy as many residents who live in Aramco, the expat compound, have tried to alleviate the intense salt that exists in the water quality of Saudi Arabia by incorporating a portion of sweet water. However, since the country is in an economic crisis, these residents have had to pay SAR 2,000 fee for this luxury, the equivalent of $533.33. 

Until better technology is developed to address desalination, the only solution that would be beneficial would be an increase in water imports from other countries.

– Nicole Suárez

Photo: Flickr

During President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, he stressed the importance of combating global terrorism and addressing extremism within the country. With a population exceeding 28 million people, Saudi Arabia’s extreme temperatures and the shortage of groundwater have been detrimental toward providing sufficient amounts of consumable water to the country. The poor water quality in Saudi Arabia demonstrates a greater risk to the region than global terrorism does.

As a leading producer of oil and natural gas, Saudi Arabia continues to hold roughly 16 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Unfortunately, declining global oil prices in recent years have significantly affected Saudi Arabia’s economy, leading to governmental cuts and taxes in order to compensate for economic losses.

These struggles have led to problematic issues for the state to address, especially the water quality in Saudi Arabia. Since the country holds no permanent rivers or lakes and rainfall is a rarity, underground reservoirs were built in order to preserve water throughout the region. In addition to these reservoirs, Saudi Arabia utilizes desalinated water.

The process of desalinization extracts certain minerals from saline water, thus creating consumable water for the region. There are 27 desalination stations throughout the country, fully operable by the Saline Water Conservation Corporation. Together, these stations produce more than 792 million gallons of water per day for Saudi Arabia, which is currently the largest country that processes desalinated water.

As oil revenues continue to decline, Saudi Arabia has begun taxing water in order to address the region’s threatening debt. These taxes support the numerous warnings that predict the region’s groundwater will run out in the next 12 years. These warnings are spread throughout several Gulf countries, primarily due to the overwhelming water consumption throughout these regions, which highlights some of the highest levels per capita in the world.

The region relies on two sources of water: groundwater, which accounts for 98 percent of the water sources throughout Saudi Arabia, and water produced from desalination plants. In light of recent warnings, Saudi Arabia continues to improve water conditions through additional desalination plants and innovative technological advancements, which hope to enhance the water quality in Saudi Arabia and save millions of lives throughout the region.

Brandon Johnson

Photo: Flickr