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Saudi Arabia

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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
HydroBasin Level:
Baseline Water Stress:
Water Quality Stress:
Sanitation Access Stress:
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Quick Info

3.08 out of 5
WWF Country Risk Score
36 out of 248 Countries
WWF Country Rank
Total Organizations: 11
Total Projects: 2
Priority SDGs: Sustainable Agriculture (SDG 2.4)
Increase Access to Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (SDG 6.1 & 6.2)
Water Quality (SDG 6.3)
Integrated Water Resource Management (SDG 6.5)
International Cooperation and Capacity Building (SDG 6.a)
Water-Related Disaster Management (SDG 11.5)
Sustainable Production (SDG 12.4)
Climate Resilience and Adaptation (SDG 13.1)
Priority Regions: --
Priority Industries: Biotech, health care & pharma
Food, beverage & agriculture
Fossil fuels
Organization Types:
Coalition / Consortium
Individual / Sole Proprietor
Multi-stakeholder Organization
Utility / Water Service Provider
Profile Completion: 64%

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $5,025,251,325.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $745,075,270.00 - [15%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $727,981,585.00 - [14%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $182,032,076.00 - [4%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $35,340,392.00 - [1%]
  • Water Scarcity: $2,497,280,115.00 - [50%]
  • Water Management: $837,541,887.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

Access to Water Supply and Water Services
Compliance with Local Regulations and Widely-Accepted Standards
Local Water Resource Governance
Upstream Water Issues
Water Demand and Competition among Users
Water Pricing

Country Overview

1.1.2.WATER USE It is estimated that in 2006 total water withdrawal was 23.7km3, an increase of 40 per cent compared to 1992. Withdrawal was shared between the sectors as follows: agriculture 88 per cent; municipal 9 per cent; and industry 3 per cent. The boom in desert agriculture tripled the volume of water used for irrigation from about 6.8km3 in 1980 to about 21km3 in 2006. Total surface water and groundwater withdrawal represented 943 per cent of the total renewable water resources. Groundwater resources of Saudi Arabia are being depleted at a very fast rate. Most water withdrawn comes from fossil, deep aquifers and some predictions suggest that these resources may not last more than about 25 years. The quality of the abstracted water is also likely to deteriorate with time because of the flow of low quality water in the same aquifers toward the core of the depression at the point of use. In 2003 there were 5,661 government wells assigned for municipal purposes and 106,370 multipurpose private wells. Treated wastewater is used to irrigate non-edible crops, for landscape irrigation and for industrial cooling, while desalinated water is used for municipal purposes. According to Aseer (2003), since its establishment in 1974, the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) has constructed 25 plants with a daily water output of about 2 million m3 of desalinated water. The major desalination plants are located in 15 different sites, 12 of which produce 0.793m3 per day. Other sites, located on the Arabian Gulf coast, produce 1.145m3 per day. Some plants are confined to seawater desalination, while others have the dual purpose of producing drinking water and generating electricity. In spite of an acute water shortage in the Kingdom, treated wastewater is unfortunately being wasted. Currently, with the exception of 150m3 of treated wastewater, all reclaimed wastewater is discharged into the sea or wasted. The Ministry of Agriculture and Water strongly encouraged reuse of treated wastewater with the passage of Royal Decree no. M/6 in 1999. Notably, 40,000m3 of treated wastewater are put to use daily in Riyadh for irrigation. The Riyadh refinery uses 20,000m3 per day for cooling purposes. In addition, there are projects currently being carried out to irrigate farms in Mazahmia, Druma, Jebilah and Al Oiynah. Feasibility studies are also being carried out for using this water in both Medina and Qassim. Treated wastewater is also currently used in many Saudi cities for landscaping. It should also be noted that Saudi Aramco is treating wastewater at Mubarraz Dhahran and Tanajeeb at a tertiary level for unrestricted irrigation. Other agencies were urged to develop their own wastewater treatment plants to use water in irrigating lawns or for afforestation (Aseer, 2003). Due to the tremendous, positive response by Saudi citizens, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water, in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and wastewater authorities, has prepared a draft on national standards of treated wastewater in the Kingdom. The proposed regulations include standards for domestic and industrial wastewater and the levels of treatment required. The law pertaining to the use of treated wastewater has been ratified and its passage helps to encourage potential users of treated wastewater and to regulate its use (Aseer, 2003).

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH According to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) (2004), in Saudi Arabia, responsibility for environmental issues is vested in the Ministerial Committee on Environment and its executive arm, the Environmental Monitoring and Protection Bureau. The Bureau is in charge of water quality issues, applying the environmental protection standards adopted in 1981 and amended in 1989. Those standards are divided into three parts: water guidelines, standards on direct withdrawal and guidelines for wastewater treatment before disposal to sewers. The Saudi Normative Standards Organization is responsible for drinking water standards, both tariffed and non-tariffed, while water and sanitation authorities are responsible for drinking water distribution and monitoring water in distribution systems to make sure that it is safe to drink.

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Organizations in Saudi Arabia

Provide water trucking for vulnerable societies in Yemen with support of UN humanitarian relief organizations. Learn More

We are committed to conducting our business in an environmentally responsible manner, supporting the long-term health of the planet, the success of customers and our people. Our environmental sustainability strategy aims to drive climate action throughout our value chain, use … Learn More

Cummins is an American Fortune 500 corporation that designs, manufactures, and distributes engines, filtration, and power generation products. Learn More

Application of IoT on Hydro-Geophysics in conjunction with Water Divining in Study/Exploration of Water Resources, their Exploitation &amp; Management. It is the combination of Remote Sensing, Big Data Resources Processing, Instrumentation, Real-time Data Collection from a larger or regional network … Learn More

Conserve water and help secure water access in those areas at greatest risk: Implement tools to reduce the water footprint of our hotels Mitigate water risk through stakeholder collaboration to deliver water stewardship at basin level Collaborate to ensure adequate … Learn More

Our purpose is to provide Better Care for a Better World. People around the globe benefit from our products in their day-to-day lives, but we know that millions still lack access to basic products that could dramatically improve their quality … Learn More

For as long as nearly 70 years since its founding in 1949, Kurita Water Industries has been consistently operating in two areas of "water and the environment." To cater to diverse customer needs, the Kurita Group provides comprehensive solutions by … Learn More

Support and develop Pakistan as a central hub for developing a sustainable supply chain ecosystem with Halal standards. Making Pakistan a well-known Halal international hub that aligning United Nation’s 17 sustainable goals and promotes WAQF from Halal culture to contribute … Learn More

Water stewardship has long been one of PepsiCo’s top priorities, and it's an important part of building a Positive Value Chain. As one of the first companies of our size to acknowledge water as a human right, we have a … Learn More

Water Offsets is a vertically integrated WaterTECH company, working in high water stress countries to deliver water resilient communities, companies and cities. Many cities are experiencing rapid urbanisation, climate change, floods, droughts, dwindling water resources resulting in poor water supply, … Learn More

Zander Agro offers services on water borehole discovery in hard to reach territories ( hills, deserts, etc by using new, unique technology for water borehole discovery that unites scientific methodology and exclusive software and hardware tools. This new technology determines … Learn More

Projects in Saudi Arabia

Building on over a decade of focus on operational water efficiency, P&amp;G is now working towards a holistic water stewardship strategy throughout its value chain. An evaluation of water risks across the life cycle of its products helped P&amp;G select … Learn More

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