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