MILAN - Groundwater accounts for 98% of total water sources and as much as 95% is employed in agriculture. Groundwater in Saudi Arabia seems to have a much more precious value than its famous crude oil, in which they are world leaders. According to the Saudi Gazette site, that documents the comments from Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, expert at the King Faisal University, the situation in the Arabian peninsula could be much more serious than previously thought and the exhaustion of water sources is not as far in the future as had been imagined.
Water in Saudi Arabia
Total exhaustion has been predicted for 13 years' time and Al-Ghamdi's prophecy is based on a report published by the World Bank on the scarcity of water in the world. "Official estimates have not yet been made available - explained the expert - but the available data shows an acute drop in water levels in agricultural areas". It is precisely the agriculture sector that uses almost the totality of available water in the country: as much as 95% against the remaining 5%, which is divided between industrial and human consumption. If the outlook for supply levels really is as bleak as predicted, there could be serious repercussions for important crops such as wheat, barley, grass and fruit.
The only way to solve this problem is to renew groundwater. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, Governor of Riyadh, stated: "Water and electricity are very important resources for us and we should conserve them and use them properly". In order to cope with rising demand and to also identify future solutions, the Minister for Water and Electricity in Saudi Arabia explained that the country will require an investment package of 133 billion dollars.
The situation in the United Arab Emirates
Speaking of investments, recently another giant in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, announced a multi-million dollar research project, which will literally try to “extract” moisture from the clouds. This is because in the UAE less than 100 millimetres of rain falls per year and a large part of that disappears through evaporation due to the extreme heat.
di Salvatore Galeone