Per capita water consumption in Saudi Arabia is 91 percent higher than the international average, according to a new report by the country's Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC). Saudi Arabia is the world's largest producer of desalinated water, accounting for at least 17 percent of the total world output.
$25 billion invested for desalination
The Kingdom has invested nearly $25 billion in the last 80 years developing the technology for desalination, and in building and operating desalination plants. Currently, there are 30 desalination plants in the country, 27 of which supply drinking water to the principal urban centers and industrial locations via a network more than 5,000km of pipelines.
In addition, about 70 percent of the total volume of drinking water consumption in the Kingdom is supplied through desalination technology.
91% more water than the global average
In a separate report by Booz & Company, it said on a per capita basis, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates consume 91 percent and 83 percent more water than the global average, and about six times more water than the UK. Qatar and Oman are also above the global average for water consumption.
$66.4 billion over the next eight years
Saudi Arabia's National Water Co. plans to spend $66.4 billion on water and wastewater projects over the next eight years as water consumption grows faster than the kingdom's burgeoning population. Some $11 billion will be spent on more desalination plants, which convert sea water into fresh water, as natural supplies run out. Some of these are expected to be powered by solar energy.
Saudi Arabia, which averages 4 inches of rain a year, is considered the largest producer of desalinated water in the world. Desalination plants supply 116.6 million cubic feet a day, or 18 percent of the global total, through a supply network covering around 2,500 miles. They also supply 43 percent of the combined reservoir of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council. Most of the spending will go on wastewater projects. Some $30.66 billion will go on boosting the water supply in 2012-20.
SWCC plans to almost double its desalinated water production to 6 million cubic meters per day by the end of 2015 from currently 3.3 million cubic meters.
Average water consumption in the Kingdom is estimated at 250 liters per capita.
Desalinated water consumption rises much faster with 14.5 percent than water consumption as a whole, which still grows by a huge 7 percent per year.
The Saudi Gazette