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