The crucial role that water plays in people’s lives cannot be underestimated. Water is one of the most essential resources that man cannot do without. All forms of life on earth entirely depend on water man derives his water from various sources. These sources include streams, rivers, springs, lakes, seas and even oceans. There is a need to use these water resources sustainably so that their quality can be maintained for posterity. This report discusses the types of water resources in Saudi Arabia, and some of the ways in which the resources are of immense use to the people of Saudi. Further, this report discusses some of the measures that can be taken to preserve the water resources to ensure their sustainability.
Definition and types of water resources
Simply defined water resources refer to all sources of water on the earth’s surface. Water is undoubtedly one of the most valuable resources that man cannot do without. Water resources are broadly classified into two categories; surface water resources and underground water resources. Surface water resources refer to the water sources found on the earth’s surface such as lakes, rivers, springs, streams and dams. Rivers, streams and springs, can either be seasonal or permanent depending on the amount of precipitation in an area. Underground water resources refer to water sources found below the earth’s crust. Man uses the underground water resources through drilling of boreholes. It is necessary to take conservatory measures to safeguard the resources.
Water resources in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is an arid country which receives an average rainfall of about 200 mm per year (World Water Assessment Program, 298). As a result, Saudi Arabia lacks numerous permanent water bodies. As a result, Saudi Arabia derives much of its water from rainfall and desalination of sea water. Saudi Arabia is currently the leading user of desalinated water. Over forty desalination plants are in use at present (Abderrahman, 1990). The country spends a lot in desalination of sea water (Wilson, Graham, 226). There are also several artesian springs which satisfy the nation’s water needs. Many parts of Saudi Arabia lie in desert areas and hence depend on piped water.
Uses of water resources
Water resources provide water that people use in innumerable ways. Man needs water for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses.
Industrial uses of water
Water finds much application in the industries. For most industries especially the food industries, water is an indispensable ingredient. In the industries, water is also a significant coolant in the industrial plants. It can be used in cooling products, in the industries, as well as cooling the industrial machinery. Saudi Arabia is well known for its established oil industry. Chemically treated water is particularly crucial in production of natural gas. This process of mining natural gas using chemically treated water is called hydraulic mining. The water resources also supply the construction sector with the much needed water in construction works. All industries require water for their operations. The water resources can also be used to generate hydroelectric power, which provides energy for both industrial and domestic use. The sea water in itself is an ore that is rich in minerals. In particular, common salt is principally extracted from sea water. Recent studies indicate that water use in Saudi Arabian industries is exceedingly high for its economic development (Cordesman, 301).
Agricultural use of water resources
Other than the industrial uses, the water resources also play exceedingly vital role in the agricultural sector. Much of Saudi Arabia is semi arid. The natural rain is inadequate and cannot support agriculture. As a result, most of the agricultural activities rely on irrigation (Abdallah, Wali, 15). In Saudi Arabia, a significant proportion of the water is used in Agriculture. Oases, ponds and springs, provide the much needed water for irrigation. Al-Hasa is the largest oasis in the eastern region which is largely used for irrigation purposes in the region. The irrigation has enabled Saudi Arabia achieve food security. With the increasing demand for food, there has been an increase in water use for irrigation. Apart from irrigating the crops in the farms, the water resources also provide water for livestock use.
The water resources also provide water that we so much need for household chores. Such household activities include cooking, gardening and cleaning purposes. High-quality water is immensely valuable for drinking and cooking. Cooking and drinking require clean and fresh water. Water used for these purposes, originates from freshwater springs, oases and also from desalination of sea water. To Muslims in Saudi, water should be used for domestic purposes first (Abderrahman, 1990).
Other uses of water resources
The water resources also have plentiful of other beneficial uses. They form habitats for various forms of life. From the water resources, fish and other-food resources can be obtained. Besides, the resources also form beautiful sceneries that attract tourists. In addition, the water resources have been largely used for recreational purposes such as swimming and boat racing.
Measures that can be taken to conserve water resources
Water resources play crucial roles in people’s lives. As a result, efforts should be made to preserve the resources. The conservatory measures should be aimed at ensuring sustainability of resources as well as maintaining the quality of the resources. The quality of life people live depend on the quality of water that people use (Grisham, Flemming, 12). Though water, is exceedingly vital, when polluted it can impact negatively on the people’s lives. Human activities have not only destroyed the water resources but have also degraded the resources significantly. It is currently estimated that over half of Saudi Arabia’s underground water resources are already depleted (Alsharnan, Wood, 157). The studies further indicate that when conservatory measures are not taken, groundwater will be totally depleted in the next ten or twenty years (Cordesman, 301). This calls for conservatory measures. Some of the measures that can be used to preserve the water resources include but not limited to the following measures.
Sustainable use of the water resources
As a means of preserving the water reserves, the members of the public should be educated on careful and wise use of water. They should be made aware of the benefits of conserving the water resources. Water conservatory measures cannot be successful if they are not socially acceptable (Maddaus, 29). The people should, therefore, be actively involved in conservation activities. In most regions, in Saudi Arabia, reuse of water has been in practice, in some areas. This should be highly encouraged in the industries which utilize a lot of water. Water recycling will significantly preserve the water resources (Abderrahman, 1990). Irrigation should be regulated to ensure the preservation of the water resources. When not regulated, irrigation can significantly result to water loss. For instance, the unregulated use of non renewable water in wheat production is inefficient, and a waste of water (World Bank, 62). Irrigation methods employed should be those which can help reduce water wastage. In the wheat farms, flood irrigation is the common irrigation method used. Through this method, large amount of water is lost through evaporation (Vincent, 239). Recycled wastewater can be used instead of fresh underground water (Abderrahman, 1990). In the homes, people should be encouraged to save water.
Enacting regulations to curb pollution
The government should also impose strict regulations that will guide against pollution. Industries should be compelled to ensure that they treat their effluents before discharging them into the water bodies. Laws should also be enacted to protect the water resources from destruction by greedy individuals. Laws that will guard against over-exploitation of the underground sources should be enacted (Abderrahman, 1990). Regulations are very useful in managing water resources (Mohorjy, 1995).
From the above discussion, it is obvious that water resources are highly essential to humans, and all forms of life on earth. The water resources provide man with a lot of resources necessary of life. However, it is pertinent to ensure that the resources are properly conserved. This will maintain the quality of resources and ensure that they are available for posterity.
Members of the public should be educated on the importance of preserving the water resources. The locals should be involved in the conservatory measures. Besides, the government should enact strict regulations to ensure protection of the water resources. Strict regulations should also be enacted to reduce pollution of the water resources. Industries should treat their effluents before discharging them into the water bodies.
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Grisham, A. and Flemming, M. “Long Term Options for Municipal Water Conservation.” Journal of American Water Works Association. March 1989: 10-12.
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