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Water Provision Methods (Saudi Arabia) - Research Paper Example

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Saudi Arabia is the largest arid country in the Middle East. Rainfall is scanty and there are no lakes, rivers or streams. The Kingdom has a fast growing population with an average age of about 21 years…
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Water Provision Methods (Saudi Arabia)
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Download file to see previous pages Water plays a crucial role in the quality of life of the inhabitants, but it is also an important requirement for economic prosperity, for example in a growing industry and in the agricultural sector. Together, both variables will cause a further increase in water demand in Saudi Arabia, which cannot be covered completely through ground water resources as well as the inexistent river systems or lakes (Al-Zahrani & Baig, 2011.p.604). Given the pressing industrial and domestic requirements Saudi Arabia must come up with a reliable and sustainable means of supplying water to its growing population. One of the notable undertakings is the Kingdom’s efforts to sea water desalination. Desalination plants are installed at the coast and water is carried by huge pipeline systems to the major consumption centers in the up-country (Jeffreys, 2011.p.299). The country cannot rely on surface water due to low precipitation and high evaporation rates, this makes surface water scarce. The other option is ground water which comes from the water table statistics indicate that the country draws 45% of its water supply from the water table. This makes Saudi Arabia number one in the world in terms of groundwater withdrawals. Much of this is taken from fossil aquifers, which are not replenished by rainfall or underground water flows (Jeffreys, 2011.p.299). ...
There are few chances of expanding production and in real terms, in arid environments the recharge is not significant (Jeffreys, 2011.p.299). Although the cost of well head water is low, the main costs lie in the transfer costs, as in pipelines and pumping stations (Al-Zahrani & Baig, 2011.p.605). The principal aquifers are known, as are some of the areal changes, which affect the porosity, permeability, and transmissivity of the aquifer. Few areas remain which could significantly supplement the aquifer supply (Alsharhan, 2001.p. 138). Water importing might be a sound alternative but is laden with numerous uncertainties and the flow and supply is not solely dependent on Saudi’s decisions and factors. Desalination Desalination of sea water and brackish groundwater is the main alternative adopted in the Kingdom and one that is likely to serve the Kingdom well into the future. At the moment, there are about 32 plants in the Kingdom and plans remain underway to construct additional plants to supplement the growing demand of clean water. At the moment, the Kingdom is constructing a megaproject, Ras Al-Khair, which will be the largest desalination plant in the world and is expected to produce 1,037,000m3 of water daily (Al-Zahrani & Baig, 2011.p.604). The biggest challenge in the desalination process is the constant input of energy which the Kingdom has in abundance, but something the Saudi government is also increasingly conscious of using wisely. Desalination already accounts for more than half of the kingdom’s domestic oil consumption, and the demand for water and electricity co-production is growing by 8 percent every year (Ibp USA, International Business Publications, USA 2009.p.126). This is a challenge as oil will always be a precious commodity, and ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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