Using oil revenue to maximise investment and diversify the economy to create jobs for the Kingdom’s rapidly increasing population is not the only natural resource challenge facing Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom is also facing a serious water challenge and present consumption rates are not sustainable. In Europe an average individual uses 140 litres of water per day, but in Saudi Arabia we are consuming twice that amount at over 300 litres daily.
Deep beneath the bedrock of the Kingdom are ancient aquifers – natural water resources – and these are being depleted as demand increases by about eight percent each year and we must take steps to help preserve this precious resource by being more efficient in the use and reuse of water.
But there is good news. There are huge opportunities for Saudi Arabia to reduce water consumption and we must all become much smarter in how we use water.
In the United States, for example, there are many places where there is a separate plugging system for household waste water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs and washing machines – known as grey water – water can be recycled for other domestic purposes like flushing and garden irrigation.
Introducing a grey water recycling building code can save up to 40% percent of domestic water use and these systems are simple to integrate in to housing infrastructure.
It’s good news for the environment because it reduces water use; it’s good news for individuals because it saves flushing money down the drain; and it’s good news for the national economy because it limits the requirement for expanding national water treatment infrastructure.The Saudi government is to be applauded at setting a “green” agenda. Most government infrastructure projects stipulate energy efficiency and water usage requirements as key factors before awarding any project. Recent projects awarded to WETICO, such as the development of reverse osmosis water desalination plants, have been determined on these important factors.
Water is a valuable resource – not a commodity – and we all need to take responsibility for ensuring that we take steps to ensure that we value every drop.