Water shortage in KSA

Because of lack of water, Saudi Arabia unlike many in the MENA region countries, seems to be determined to abandon its dream of self-sufficiency in wheat, according to a World Resources Institute (WRI) report (refer map below) issued a few weeks on the subject.


It indicated that the geographical area of the Middle East and North Africa has several countries threatened by shortage of water.  However, and as per many researchers, several of these countries do not have to wait until 2040 to experience lack of water and experience its first effects.

In Saudi Arabia, the dream of self-sufficiency in wheat for instance, is little by little abandoned; Saudi Arabia is planning to put an end to its local production of wheat by 2016.  Information that confirms Sébastien Abis, analyst at the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies.

Saudi Arabia “depends entirely on imports for cereal” and will be “forced to buy between 5 and 6 million tons of wheat in the coming years”, he said.

The fault lies with perhaps the lack of water, a commodity always rare in the Arabian peninsula or could be mismanagement of this resources and the over exploitation of groundwater (which reached + 300% within ten years).

Desalination of seawater as a solution?  

The desalination of sea water seems to be the most popular solution by some countries of the Middle East where 60% of the global desalinated water is produced.  In Saudi Arabia, this technology is already widely used and 45% desalinated water produced in the 30 factories in the country, is essentially for domestic use.  It however remains that the desalination of sea water is a technique which is extremely expensive in the countries where energy is not available.  Even for Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s major oil-producing country, there are plans to desalinate sea water but using solar energy.

In the meantime, this Tuesday 10 November 2015, Saudi Arabia made its contribution to a climate rescue pact, calling it a “significant deviation” for the emissions of the oil-reliant economy, pledging to achieve “mitigation co-benefits” of up to 130 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year by 2030, in a submission with however few caveats.

It was the last of the G20 countries to submit its offer to the UN, in a meeting of all the wealthy economies this weekend ahead of next month’s critical climate COP21 summit in Paris.