Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Saudi water usage hits record

Saudi National Water

Water consumption in Saudi Arabia hit a new record and shows no sign of slowing down.  The government has expressed concern over this rise and plans on doing something about it.  Unfortunately, it will not do the right thing.


Per capita consumption of drinking water in Saudi Arabia has now reached 265 liters, which is double the amount of water used by an individual in a European country, said Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen.

He said total water consumption in the Kingdom crossed eight million cubic meters for the first time. “This is equal to nearly 800,000 10-ton water tank trucks,” he said while emphasizing the need to rationalize consumption of water.

Al-Hussayen said about 60 percent of the Kingdom’s water supply comes from desalination plants on its Red Sea and Arabian Gulf coasts while the rest comes from underground water wells.

“All regions have reported record consumption of water,” the minister said.

Jeddah’s consumption is more than 1.2 million cubic meters per day, which translates to per capita use of more than 300 liters per day.

Al-Hussayen said his ministry has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce water consumption by 30 percent through free distribution of devices that would help reduce consumption.

He also stressed the importance of preserving the country’s underground water resources.

Saudi Arabia has been producing desalinated water since 1927, with output jumping from 300,000 cubic meters per day to more than five million cubic meters.

The Kingdom is the world leader in this field, producing almost 20 percent of global production.

Read the full story from Arab News.


The easiest step to slowing the growth in water consumption is to increase the cost, which is now almost free.  However, there are political implications to this, which means raising the price will not happen.  The government will instead choose to come up with water conservation campaigns to try to sway users in to using less water.  There will be zero effect on water consumption, but government officials will show their hard efforts in trying to stop the rise in consumption by pointing out the awareness ads they put on television and billboards.