WASTING WATER IN SAUDI ARABIA 14
Towardpeople Awareness of Wasting Water in Saudi Arabia
Towardpeople Awareness of Wasting Water in Saudi Arabia
TheKingdom of Saudi Arabia is a semi-arid region. It means that theenvironmental conditions limit water resources in the arid andsemi-arid areas. The major contributors to the water scarcity inSaudi Arabia include the growth of the population, which has causedan upward pressure in the demand for water thereby straining thewater supplies. The development of economic regions in the country isalso a possible cause of water scarcity since the projects take in alot of water leaving little for other uses. Climate change, which hasled to global warming, has to a large extent contributed to watershortage problems in the Middle East. These problems are ravaging theMiddle East and Saudi Arabia (Al-Ibrahim, 1991).
SinceSaudi Arabia is a semi-arid country with no lakes and rivers that canprovide fresh water, it, therefore, means that the people of Saudionly get water from conventional water resources like the groundwater and the rains. However, this rain is not reliable, which meansthat the country’s agricultural sector depends on irrigation. Theyuse water from the ground for irrigation, and the land foragriculture is adding the pressure for to the already scarce watersupply. The traditional methods used for irrigation of suchagricultural fields’ leads to massive water wastage thus waterscarcity. Desertification is an environmental problem, which has alsopresented substantial effects to water resources. Unsustainablefarming practices such as overgrazing contribute to thisdesertification.
Significanceof the Study
Thispaper aims to discuss the issue of water scarcity and its causes inthe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The paper will then discuss ways throughwhich Saudi Arabians can acquire sensitization about wateroverconsumption and sound management practices. The water shortageproblem in Saudi Arabia is a matter of national concern, which makesthe research relevant. The public does not appreciate the importanceof using the water available sparingly with minimum wastage. Thisstudy, therefore, seeks to carry out public awareness campaigns onwater wastage in Saudi with an aim of helping in the conservation ofwater to beat the water scarcity. The paper also seeks to highlightsome of the methods employable by the public as measures to conservewater and avoid wastage. In addition to that, this research alsoevaluates some of the areas of government involvement that can ensurewater sustainability in Saudi Arabia. To carry out an effectiveawareness campaign, it is important to know the causes of the problemand the roles that human beings have to contribute to the problem ascovered above. It will help during evaluation of the success of thestudy. If it is successful by the end of the campaign, the publicshould be able to adopt new methods of water conservation as well asavoid water wastage
Manystudies conducted on the water scarcity in Saudi Arabia by differentscholars have advanced various numbers of factors linked to thisproblem. However, this review will focus on the methods ofconservation and water demand management strategies that that thesefindings have since revealed. The studies have shown that a hugechunk of water shortage is because of human factors. Moreover, thereis poor awareness of how to optimally use and save water from themasses in general (Al-Ibrahim, 1991). Therefore, the first step insolving the problem of water shortage in Saudi Arabia will be tocarry out public awareness campaigns on the importance of waterconservation. It will involve giving those feasible solutions thatthey can result in the protection of the available water resourcesand the optimal use of the available water supplies.
TheKingdom of Saudi Arabia just like many Middle East countries facesthe problem of water scarcity and mismanagement (Mahmoud &Abdallh, 2013). Despite the fact that the government of Saudi Arabiahas invested heavily in the water sector, water management remains aserious financial and environmental issue in the country. Accordingto Abderrahman (2009), overconsumption of water per capita is aproblematic issue in Saudi Arabia since many people lack theknowledge on how to conserve the scarce natural resource. Forinstance, on an average, a Saudi Arabian resident consume 250 litresof water per day, almost two times the consumption of a resident inGermany. Lack of awareness among the people of Saudi Arabia about theimportance of water conservation coupled with Agriculturalirrigational policy has made water scarcity and mismanagement anational issue in Saudi Arabia.
AReview of Water Resources in Saudi Arabia
Thewater resources of Saudi Arabia fall under four classes: surfacerunoff water, water beneath the ground (groundwater), desalinizedwater and treated wastewater (Al-Zahrani & Baig, 2011).
Itis important to point out that surface water depends on the amount ofrainfall experienced in an area. Apart from the mountainous regionsand the Southwestern parts of Saudi Arabia, other parts receiveinadequate and infrequent precipitation. The average rainfallexperienced in Saudi Arabia is about 90mm per year. Surface runoff isintense during the rainy seasons. Estimations of surface runoff waterare between 2000 and 2400 MCM (Ouda, 2014) per year. Research showsthat surface water occurs in regions that receive sufficient andregular amounts of rainfall. One of the government`s initiatives inutilizing surface runoff water is through the construction of dams.Construction of dams has proven to be efficient in increasinginfiltration for replenishing underground water and in preventingfloods. Surface runoff water is important and is extensively utilizedfor many purposes in Saudi Arabia.
Accordingto Abderrahman(2009), underneath water is the primary source of water in thenation. There are two types of aquifers in Saudi Arabia namely:renewable and non-renewable. Replenishing of the renewable aquifersoccurs through penetration from precipitation and water found on theground surface. There are estimations that the underground water thatcan undergo replenishing in Saudi Arabia is around 980 MCM per year.Replacement of the second type, non-renewable is by reservoirs formedthousands of years ago. Since these aquifers occur very deep underthe rocks, they receive very little or no recharge and therefore caneasily be depleted through overconsumption. In Saudi Arabia,utilization of the renewable groundwater resources is foragricultural practices in small farms (Ouda, 2015). Ouda argues thatthe agricultural policy of cultivating most of the arid parts ofSaudi Arabia have put a lot of pressure on the non-renewablegroundwater. This is because there is excessive use of groundwaterfor cultivation in vast areas under cultivation. Research byMahmoudand Abdallah (2013) shows that failure to manage the demandfor non-renewable groundwater will result in the depletion of theresource.
Dueto water scarcity in Saudi Arabia, water recycled from the sea iswidely used for various purposes in the nation (Ouda,et al. 2013). Research indicates that Saudi Arabia is the leadingnation in terms of seawater production. Desalinization of seawaterprovides most of Saudi Arabia`s drinking water (4.5% of the totalwater). However, desalinization of the water is highly expensivesince it is a capital and energy intensive process. According to Ouda(2015), the country`s energy demand is growing by about 8% annuallyleading to greater domestic consumption of its primary export, oil.Hybrid technology for desalinisation plants which utilizesalternative energy sources of advanced filtering membranes are inprogress, but there is no hope that they will be operational any timesoon. In short, while desalinisation provides massive amounts ofwater for domestic purposes in Saudi Arabia, its production is toocostly and unsustainable.
Treated waste water
Wastewatertreatment and recycling is another important source of water in SaudiArabia. Currently, collection as well as treatment of water is 60% ofthe urban area in the whole kingdom. According to Abderrahman(2009), areas not having systems with sewers use cesspits as well asseptic tanks as a method of disposal. Presently, the countrygenerates over 2000 million cubic meters annually with a capacity ofapproximately 850 million cubic meters annually. The government hasput a lot of effort to encourage its citizen to utilize treatedwastewater as a way of reducing the pressure on dilatable sourcessuch as the non-renewable aquifers (Abderrahman, 2009). Currently,more than three-quarter of treated wastewater is in use for landscapeand crop irrigation in many areas of the country.
Unsustainableutilization of water in Saudi Arabia
Accordingto Ouda et al. (2014), residents cannot depend on the available waterin the long-term because of the existing trends of water usage in thecountry. The demand for water in Saudi Arabia is going up with thecontinuous depletion of water resources. To meet its national demand,the Kingdom draws over 70% of its water from non-renewable aquifers,which take millions of years to replenish. Recent research also showsthat the renewable sources of water are dropping at an annual rate of2%. In the year 2010, renewable water capacity in Saudi Arabia wasestimated to be 240 cubic meters, a quarter of the global average.According to Mahmoud& Abdallh, 2013), the problem of water shortage will worsen asthe population continues to grow. The World Bank estimates SaudiArabia’s population to be 31.6 million by 2030 as shown in thetable below.
Figure1: Predicted population growth of Saudi Arabia by 2030
Asthe population grows, there is the expectation of an increase in thedemand for water by households. According to Ouda (2015), demand forwater by households in Saudi Arabia is growing at the rate of 8.0%per year. The issue of water shortage in Saudi Arabia is alarmingbecause its increasing demand estimates to three times the populationgrowth rate in the country(Abderrahman, 2009). According to Abderrahman, water consumption byhousehold is unsustainable because it exceeds 8 million cubic metersper day. On average, the daily per capita consumption of water in theKingdom is about 265 litres, almost two times the daily consumptionin Germany.
Unsustainabledomestic water consumption is not the only cause of water shortage inthe country. According to Ouma (2014), the government of Saudi Arabiasponsored the sector of agriculture with the aim of improving theliving standards of those in the rural areas. The government supportled to increased cultivation of wheat among others using irrigationwater(Abderrahman,2009). The increase in the cultivated land meant an increase in waterdemand from the groundwater resources. According to Ouma, the SaudiArabia government had to come up with ways of restructuring itsagricultural sector to cut down water demand. Most of the oldconservation practices and ways of using water sustainably are nolonger in existent making the issue of water shortage in the nationcritical. Despite the arid conditions in Saudi Arabia have stayedconstant, the groundwater reservoirs are shrinking each day due tothe increasing demand.
Thepublic awareness of water shortage (Al Khobar City Case Study)
Accordingto Ouma (2013), despite the fact that unsustainable water usage is anational issue in Saudi Arabia, many people are not aware of itsgravity. Ouma carried out a questionnaire survey in 2013 targetingthe residents of Al Khobar City. The city is a middle-sized with asize of about 260 thousand people. Per capita, water usage is 400litters, which is significantly higher than the requirements in SaudiArabia. One of the questions the respondents answered was concerningthe place where the water they use comes from. As shown in the piechart below, the highest number of the interviewees (57%) havebelieved that plants desalination are the primary source.
Figure2: Public awareness of water sources in Saudi Arabia
Thestudy revealed the lack of awareness of the issue of water resourcesand its sustainable use. Fifty seven per cent of the respondents werenot aware of the primary source of water in their nation. The surveyalso revealed that almost half of the interviewees were not aware ofwater shortage problem in the country. This means that many of theSaudi people are not sensitive on how they utilize water since theyare not aware that there is a great need to conserve it. Many of therespondents believed that the best solution to the issue of watershortage would be water conservation practices.
Howto raise public awareness of water conservation measures to curbwastage
SaudiArabia is facing a crucial scarcity of as far as problem of water isconcerned. To achieve the required level of water consumption, bothtechnical and non-technical measures should be in use. According toOuma (2014), public awareness campaigns are one of the most efficientways of expanding people’s knowledge about water conservation. Thestudy carried out by Ouma in 2013 revealed that there is reducedlevel of awareness as far as the shortage of water is concerned.Extensive media campaigns through television, newspapers and radiosare important to increase public awareness of water conservationstrategies. According to Ouma, designing of the campaigns should bein a manner that they get the attention of the women (2014). A womanholds responsibility for most of the domestic water consumption.Therefore, the campaigns should target the women as their primaryaudience to enhance their level of knowledge on how to cut downdomestic water consumption.
Apartfrom the media campaigns, community involvement is another importantstrategy for improving awareness in the public sector of waterconservation in Saudi Arabia. According to Abderrahman(2009), community involvement will allow the inclusion of localperspectives, values, and expectations into decision-making. Inaddition, community involvement encourages ensure that the localpeople will remain determined to ensure the water conservation goalsare achieved. The government should implement water managementprograms in which a proactive member of each community acts as afacilitator. Local facilitation of water conservation programsensures that the community owns the projects and works collectivelyto make them a success. The government of Saudi Arabia should workextra hard to identify conservation-oriented NGOs and other sponsorsto offer financially and administrative support in the implementedwater management programs (Mahmoud & Abdallh, 2013).
Accordingto Zaharani,Al-Shayaaa, & Baig (2011), education and information programs arealso an important strategy for promoting public awareness of waterconservation. The three scholars point out that the teaching andinformation programs should focus on water providers, water users,students, and children. In these programs, household customers shouldbe educated on practical ways of reducing domestic water consumption.For instance, devices for saving water and information on the realcost of water wastage should be enclosed with their water bills.There should be provision of water audits at a free charge for largeconsumers such as factories to raise their awareness of potentialfinancial benefits derived from sustainable water consumption.Experts in water conservation should pay individual visits to largewater users to give advice on water saving practices.
Educatingstudents and bringing up children knowing the importance of waterconservation is an efficient way of ensuring a future society with awater conservation culture (Zaharani, Al-Shayaaa, & Baig, 2011).Such a strategy will make sure that the students will graduate andjoin the outside world and teach them the importance of conservingwater. Both formal and informal curricula in schools and other higherlearning institutions should consider integrating water conservationas one of the subjects. The best way to ensure successful integrationof water conservation in school curricula is by relating it to thealready existing subjects. It is important to design subjects andtopics on water conservation in a manner that they are more practicalthan theory to offer hands-on education.
Anotherstrategy to encourage the public to adopt water conservationpractices is by redesigning the current water pricing system.Research by Ouma (2013) revealed that many of the respondents did notbelieve that they incurred so much cost on the water they used. It isevident that the existing system of pricing water is low and it failsto reflect the required water cost utilized in Saudi Arabia.Therefore, the government should increase the water cost to minimizewastage. The system of pricing should also be an instrument ofeconomics to place awards for people listed as top water conserversin the nation. Fromthe above cause, a huge chunk of water shortage is because of humanfactors. Moreover, there is poor awareness of how to optimally useand save water from the masses in general. Therefore, the first stepin solving the problem of water shortage in Saudi will be to carryout public awareness companies on the importance of waterconservation. It will involve giving those feasible solutions thatthey can result to ensure the protection of the available waterresources and the optimal use of available water supplies.
Thecurrent situation demands the need and swift action of adopting waterdemand management vis a vis the conservation measures and programs toprotect the water resources as well as achieving a balance betweenthe availability of water and the demands. It is observable that thegovernment of Saudi and the other agencies are making significantefforts to aid water supply development and demand management toensure no wasted. It is important to put a focus on the demandmanagement of water as awareness campaigns occur (Hadadin et al.,2010).
Theagricultural sector is one of the largest and the most wastefulconsumer of water. Therefore, the campaign should focus on theplayers from this sector. The methods can maximize on the scarcewater in Saudi Arabia and to manage these demands efficiently shouldbe the priority in the awareness campaigns. Some of these methodsinclude the masses should be encouraged to avoid wasteful as well asthe less efficient uses of non-renewable water resources. Theirrigation can also be occur for the wastewater as opposed to thefresh water. It will channel the clean water to more demanding anddeserving sectors (Al-Zaharani, 2009).
Awarenessshould keep people alert on the need to reuse and recycle. As thishappens, the government should also invest in scientificinvestigations aimed at discovering new water fields, and this canoccur by the universities as well as other environmental and waterinstitutions.Management of drinking water that undergoes heavylosses through leakage can also occur through the implementation ofconstant and proper maintenance of the water distribution networks.Everybody should take it upon themselves to ensure that water pipesare protected to avoid leakages and breakages that result intomassive water wastage (Vedavyasan, 2000). In as much as thegovernment has a lot to do to ensure that it meets the demand forwater, it takes everybody to make sure the management of watersupplies available. Therefore, the dissemination of information onwater conservation debate to the public is important as opposed toleaving the confines of conferences and small discussion groups.Public participation is a sure way to water conservation and waterdemand management.
TheKingdom of Saudi Arabia is having serious shortage of water, thus thedemand for water is far from the sustainable yield for the usual aswell as the un-usual water users. The fact that almost half of theSaudi`s are not aware of the water shortage and wastage in thecountry worsens the national issue. To achieve the sustainable levelof water consumption, the government of Saudi Arabia should adoptboth technical and non-technical measures.
Advocacyshould occur through media campaigns over the television, radio andnewspapers. This is because of the fact that, water consumption byhousehold is unsustainable because it exceeds 8 million cubic metersper day. On average, the daily per capita consumption of water in theKingdom is about 265 litres, almost two times the daily consumptionin Germany. Community involvement is also critical as it ensures thatthe local people will remain determined to ensure the achievement ofwater conservation goals in both the short and the long run. From thesurvey carried out, almost half of the interviewees were not aware ofwater shortage problem in the country. It is a clear indication that, majority of the Saudi people are not sensitive on how they utilizewater since they are not aware that there is a great need to conserveit. Many of the respondents from the survey conducted believed thatthe best solution to the issue of water shortage would be to usewater conservation practices to raise public awareness of the issueof water conservation. The community should also be involved indecision-making and facilitation of the water conservation programsto ensure ownership and long-term commitment. There should beintegration of water conservation into school curricula to ensure afuture generation with a culture of conservation. The governmentshould redesign the water pricing system to increase the cost ofwater and encourage people to become conservationists.
Moreover,the recommendation to reduce water shortage by effective use of wateris by changing the bad habits we do when we use water. Some simpleand easy recommendations would make a great difference and reducewater shortage. For example, when you are washing dishes by hand,fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under aslow-moving stream from the tap. Check for all leaks in your home andrepair them. Take shorter showers. Replace your showerhead with anultra-low-flow version. Some units are available that allow you tocut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs. Donot let water run while shaving or cleaning your teeth. Use a cupwhen you clean your teeth instead of opening the water. Make surethat you can tightly close taps. You can use some utilities that makethe tap tightly closed with less effort. If you see any wastingwater, call 8004411110. I also recommend shortening the number tomake it easy to save.
Towardpeople Awareness of Wasting Water in Saudi Arabia
Assignment 6,Conclusion of the Research Paper
Comm-1312 Writing &Research
AlexWoodman, PhD(c), M.P.H, M.Sci.
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