Water more expensive than oil!
in Saudi Arabia, as water is a scarce, extremely limited and valuable resource in the Kingdom. A basic necessity of people along with food and air, but water has no substitute unlike energy sources and other essential commodities. There is no life without water. 57% of the total water use relies on non-renewable water resource of deep groundwater and it is predicted that like the oil, at some time will be over.
The use of nonconventional water resources to complement or replace the use of usual fresh water sources is important in water scarce regions of Saudi Arabia
The use of nonconventional water resources to complement or replace the use of usual fresh water sources is important in water scarce regions such as the Kingdom. The desalinated water, water obtained by fog capturing, rainwater harvesting, groundwater harvesting, cloud seeding, etc. are included under the designation of non-conventional waters. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water with desalination meeting 70% of the country’s present domestic drinking water requirement. The last decade innovative methods have been experimented in smaller scale in the Kingdom progressively applied in larger communities. Remarkable institutions of the kingdom and well established corporations do collaborate successfully and will introduce a series of innovations within era of Vision2030.
Would Saudi Arabia consider the groundwater recharge with desalinated water like neighboring countries do? Would the Kingdom create artificial canals to cross the dry inland through projects of Saudi Vision 2030, or costs would get higher than sourcing from the existing desalination plants?
The fact is that it is a great disparity as the global water business is booming, however water scarcity challenge is accepted by a growth industry. Will this prove positively for Saudi Arabia?
The water industry grows by investments to reach trillions during the water crisis
The sectors and subsectors related to the water production and supply are the desalination companies, the trading companies of products like valves, pumps, pipes, filtration, ozone, UV and more to safeguard human life from diseases, the Water Public or Private Utilities & Services, including Engineering & Consulting, Water treatment & Produced water Plantations. So the pie is rather big for the entrepreneurs who involve or wish to invest.
the pie is rather big for the entrepreneurs
Great projects are already performing in success, whilst companies implementing are expected to seize business opportunities and achieve commercial goals, by supporting sustainable development at the same time.
The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia is nurturing great scientists and talents, with objectives to develop solutions for existing challenges like the water scarcity, to promote science and technology for the benefit of people in larger scales, and attract talent and minds from all over the world. Scientists from KAUST are already contributing in several sectors of environmental sustainability, modern agriculture, energy and all about water, by experimenting for long projects which will be available soon for for applications in larger scale. And when it comes to water scarcity challenge, there are some great Agricultural solutions practiced in the utmost dry climates of Saudi Arabia. As climate change continues, fresh water increasingly becomes the most pressing concern for the kingdom. Water shortage is the biggest issue to be overcome, considering the under progress ambitious project of NEOM new city and the lack of groundwater the last decades, as wealthy farmers drained the aquifers.
In order to make sure that Saudi Arabia is able to feed population in the years to come, effective water collection, retention and conservation are the subjects of studies in the Kingdom. But it’s not our role to explore retention methodology and water management. The article or the blog is not scientific despite correct resources, but inspirational.
effective water collection, retention and conservation
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture monitors constantly and amends plans succeeding water economy. Last year fodder plantation was banned VS fodder importation from dairy farms. Constant control has been just admirable, as I do live in a country that water is efficient, thus we have lack of such controls. We better feel optimistic with the pretty amazing agricultural solutions for dry climate Saudi Arabia already has adapted, and which are likely to play a major role in food production in this transition to a more sustainable environment:
Greening Desert Landscapes
Reversing the trend toward desertification is central to finding agricultural solutions for arid climate zones. Restoring ecosystems and engineering landscapes to support life is key to a sustainable food future. Based on principles of permaculture and hydrological design, it is possible to green areas that are almost entirely devoid of vegetation. The Al Baydha Project, in western Saudi Arabia, is one example that has been showing what can be done. It follows other successful re-greening projects, such as that overseen by Permaculturist Geoff Lawton in Jordan.
The role of trees and other vegetation in the world’s water cycle are often overlooked. But restoring or adding vegetative growth to watersheds can increase rainfall and water retention in a landscape to a surprising extent. By creating water catchment earthworks to retain moisture, planting native trees and shrubs, and establishing a system that feeds surrounding soil with organic matter, building humus and increasing ground water storage, it is possible to establish new sustainable agriculture even in the most unpromising of regions.
Sometimes, the best solutions are the simplest ones. Shaping the land and planting trees and other plants is likely to be one of the key strategies in establishing food security and effective water management in dry climate zones. Brilliant projects are about to be seen, as the mangrove trees along the coastal zone and 4 million trees to be planted by 2020 just for the beginning! After all, the Kingdom has over 2500 kind of plants and an awarded project is already in progress for 6 million seedlings to be supplied by the Government to both public and private agricultural companies.
Desert greening (or the restoration of degraded land) can help to make wise use of what rainfall there is, and can increase overall rainfall in a given area. But as our climate continues to change, some regions will still find that rainfall is in increasingly short supply.
We’ve been all thrilled to see rain and snow last winter in Saudi Arabia. Flooding was a factor to be considered in the forthcoming projects. It is vitally important that all rain that does fall is caught and stored. This is crucial to agriculture in these arid parts of the world. Rainwater harvesting solutions are many and varied. They focus largely in two main categories: storing water naturally in the land and plants, building soil water retention and fertility over time (as in re-greening projects) and storing water in tanks or other storage containers (as when water is collected from the roofs of man-made structures). Innovative solutions in both categories are likely to be crucial moving forwards.
Air Wells & Dew Collection
In the last several years, fog collection projects have been successfully implemented in arid regions of many countries in the world. Capturing water from fog for household or agricultural use is a promising technology after all. Air wells, fog fences and dew collectors are all different methods for collecting water from the air using condensation. There are a range of innovative designs that work to harvest and store whatever water is available in the environment. Design and testing of large fog collectors for water harvesting, most frequently between November to February, in Asir region Saudi Arabia has been applied almost for a decade now. In areas of particularly low rainfall, however, other types of collectors are set to catch and store water sourced in other ways.
Dry Climate Irrigation
Whether water is collected from rain, or drawn from the air, how the water is used in dry climate agriculture is equally important. Dry climate irrigation always seeks to use as little water as possible. For in-ground growing systems, the water must be directly to where it is needed. Drip irrigation, swales, or, for small-scale systems, solutions like clay pot irrigation help to make sure water is made available where it is needed, close to the roots of plants. Mulching and other agricultural practices help to make sure that water evaporation and water loss is kept to a minimum. In the new area developed of Neom, springs will be a huge asset in harvesting enough water for diverse utilization.
Closed-Loop Hydroponic/ Aquaponics Systems
Today, there is a growing interest in agricultural systems that move away from in-ground growing. Hydroponic schemes (growing plants in water rather than soil) and aquaponics systems (which also integrate fish into the system, to provide fertility in the water for the plants) are fascinating options. Both hydroponic and aquaponic systems are of great interest in dry climate regions. They use far less water than traditional field agriculture, can more easily be regulated and controlled, and can have higher yields.
One final high-tech and fascinating solution for dry climate food production is aeroponics. In an aeroponics system, food is grown in an air/ mist environment. An Aerofarm in Jeddah is one successful implementation of this methodology along with many others around the world. Aeroponics, along with hydroponics and/or aquaponics could be amongst the solutions to feed dry climate cities as be head into a more sustainable future.
1. Studies from Mr. H.Abualhamayel & P. Gandhidasan Mechanical Engineering Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran.
2. Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia.
to be continued
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