Saudi Arabia: Where Does the Water Come From?

Water is a precious commodity in Saudi Arabia.  Expatriates may quickly notice that few Saudis are without a present water bottle.  When I first noticed this phenomenon among both men and women, I asked my husband why so many always had a water bottle in tow?  My husband explained that growing up in a desert country, Saudi citizens realize how precious water is and do not wish to take a chance and be without it.  His words made good common sense and especially during the hottest seasons when one can get heat stroke or dehydrated quickly.

But do most people in Saudi Arabia drink water from the tap?  In my experience, the majority of Saudis and expatriates get their water from bottles.  All the tap water in Saudi Arabia comes from the Red Sea but before arriving at any residence it goes through a desalinization process.  However, in spite of the process, the tap water still has a distinct metallic taste.  Yes, I know because I was curious and tasted it.

The tap water is fine for cooking or boiling for tea in my view.  Although I am  aware that there are some in the Kingdom who prefer to use bottled water for the preparation of tea or coffee.

The demand for water in the Kingdom is increasing with the growing population and expansion of the agricultural sector.  The nation’s demand for water is rising by more than 7 percent each year and that more than 500 billion riyals ($133 billion) of investment in the water and power sector will be required over the next decade.  Water has more value than oil in the long term.


40 Responses

  1. Alhumduallah, there is yet hope for KSA because in another 30 years the oil will start to run out, BUT by then, inshallah, the Fusion power process will have been on line a few years, and Saudia can have plentiful water with out using the oil which will become like Gold.

  2. Gwendolyn, Shouldn’t that be alhamduMormon by now?

  3. @Gwendolyn:

    One will see. I remember when I was a kid and they talked about when i became an adult there would be flying cars you know similar to Back to the Future. Still waiting. I have a feeling in 30 years they will be still waiting on the fission. In addition, they are not the only one suffering from extreme draught and water shortages as Yemen, Jordan, Oman, UAE, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, etc. They are all suffering and the aquifer is quickly running low. Here is the thing. Most (not all) of these areas don’t have intellectual stability or at this time the same level of collegian rigor as the west. They don’t have an economy that is diversified, most GDP is imported, and most of the technical positions are done by foreign workers. They are in an exceptionally weak position. They are standing on a small platform, one wrong turn and down they go taking the people with them. However you should not worry about the Royal family, I am sure they have an exit strategy. Where they will take the money and run.

  4. oby..royalty doesnt run…they hire someone to do it for them don’tcha know. 😉

  5. They might try in those countries to use a little less water and not be so wasteful with it.

  6. Afke-art….. Buzz off, you are useless and snotty,

    In Oregon where I live, water runs in the street 7 months a year. I don’t even think about wasting water. In KSA, it gets so hot that I think you can probably watch the level in a water glass go down from evaporation, I’m not even sure why people try to live in a place that is like Mars.

    Yeah, the Royals will make sure that they are taken care of, but the people will die or get out. It is really sad. I still want to help people get out of there and go to college or make homes somewhere that is more like a habitable planet. They just need to learn to accept that they are not the tail that wags the dog.

    It is all very sad.

  7. ” Buzz off, you are useless and snotty.”….LOL…out of the mouth of Gwendolynns. 😉

  8. Gwendolyn, I don’t mind if somebody is dumb, that’s fine, what I mind is people making up fairy tales to make themselves look interesting online. And polluting this blog with them.
    And stop acting all salafi Muslim, you said you have changed your mind and are now going to join the FDLS.

    So you think cold fusion is just around the corner? For now it is still in the realms of alchemy. And what makes you think a backward, stifled by religion, non-producing, non-inventing third world country like Saudi Arabia will be the only one to have it?
    What a silly notion.

    But of course! Cold fusion is already ”clearly” explained in the Quran!
    As soon as the degenerated Western scientists have discovered it the Islamic ”scholars” will find some obscure mumbling in the Quran which told us all along about cold fusion, we just didn’t understand it!

  9. Can’t Muslims make ablutions with sand if water is not available? If they are not doing this already, perhaps far-sighted Saudis could start using sand more and water less in order to save water for the future.

    I was always amazed when I saw water standing in bathroom floors in Syria. It seems very wasteful though I’m sure it was just people washing for prayers.

  10. I never found the diff in taste when i used tap water for boiling for tea or cooking while in KSA, maybe i don’t have that fine discerning taste buds, but for a dessert country they are very wasterful of water.

    I know the rest of the world also waste but .. it’s like las vegas.. living in a dessert and runnig fountains !!! sigh!! we human beings are idiots

  11. I remember programs at school, ”wise with water” explaining that even a drop of water is valuable and should not be wasted. And we are drowning in water, our whole country is geared towards dealing with our excess water!

  12. Radhaa, is that the quintessential Freudian typo?

    living in a dessert

  13. Re: Cold Fusion & Koran & Hadith


    As I understand physics as a layperson, cold fusion is a nuclear process that is used to produce thermal energy at a temperature just hot enough to roast human skin. According to Koran 4.56, cold fusion is the energy source that powers the Islamic Hell.

    By the way, where is Hell? No one knows. Where is the Heaven? We all know. Heaven is the Playboy mansion of Hugh Hefner. In his mansion there are ever renewing virgins and rivers of wine.

    The process of cold fusion or the 4th Law of Thermodynamics is predicted in koran and hadith. The 4th law of thermodynamics states that any thermodynamic cycle in Hell repeats itself endlessly. The koran CLEARLY alludes to the 4th law in the verse, “Those who reject our signs, We shall soon cast into the fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Truly Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise” (4:56).

    See, like so many other scientific advancements in kafiristans, them kafirs studied the koran and its predictions so studiously, and then stole the cold fusion idea from them muslims and didn’t even give them any credit. Shame on them kafirs :)-

    However, according to Dante The Thinking Atheist, the center of Hell is extremely cold – not hot at all! We need further investigation by muslim wahabi scientists to resolve this contradiction! Perhaps they can all go/journey to the hell/inferno and report back to the ommah on its temperature status …. a spiritual email report would be acceptable :)-

  14. I am house wife, not scientist, but from the news, I know that the French have spent many trillions of dollars working on the process, and interpolating from past history, this will happen too.

    How could Muhammad PBUH, have expected the steam engine, or the airplane, or the cell phone. Gee, even in the 50’s, weary of pulling the weeds in the garden, I wished for an electric hoe, and my step father taunted me. I wonder if he lived to see it happen? 🙂

    Yes, the Holy Qur’an reveals much, and I do not have a problem with it or the prophet Muhammad PBUH, but with his vagrant followers.

    It is comforting to study with the LDS, and to be able to share what I learned in Islam. They seem quite impressed, perhaps better believers than those born to Islam.

  15. @Gwendolyn – ‘I am house wife, not scientist’

    Another confusing twist to the ‘who is Gwendolyn, really’ question.

    If you were Muslim then it was a requirement that your husband be Muslim also, no? How does he feel about you becoming Mormon? LOL

  16. @Aafke – Tis the season my dear for good food especially the sweet king..we are awash in pastry and cookies at home

  17. Nosy women. I am now alone. Who are YOU really? Are you one of the thousands of paid commenters whose job it is to stir up controversy? Who I am really is not your business.

  18. @Gwendolyn -‘Are you one of the thousands of paid commenters whose job it is to stir up controversy?’

    Aw SNAP!! Are you serious? I could get PAID for this?! Do you know who I should get in contact with to collect my $$$?

    No, it’s none of my business whatsoever. I might remind you that you are the one that has willingly chosen to share so much about your personal business on this very UNprivate blog. If you are getting paid to comment then you might want to find another source of $$ because I’m sure who ever is paying you would prefer you to keep your story consistant. I’m just sayin’…;-)

  19. Hint: Single women do not usually call themselves housewives.

  20. Radhaa, I was shopping this afternoon, and had to think of you… All those seasonal goodies…
    Once we will get together and I will have tons of Dutch sweets ready for you!

  21. When I was in Saudi I assisted a PR firm which was working on a campaign for the Ministry of Water towards saving water and using it efficiently.

    There are regular conferences held in Saudi about water conservation and alternate methods to acquire water.

    There is also the Saudi Arabia Water Environment Association.

  22. Aafke – thanks much.

    I’m currently assisting my daughter in making what we would commonly call a fruit cake !!! but she used molasses and lots and lots of veeeery expensive bits of dried fruit and peels, spices and nuts soaked and waiting and apparently i can’t pound said spices to her satisfaction..

    and to top it this cake is supposedly not to be eaten fro 5 days !!! WTH is up with that. anyway as a mom i oblige to keep peace.

  23. Hmmmm sounds like a proper English christmas cake!

  24. @Radhaa – ‘…and to top it this cake is supposedly not to be eaten fro 5 days !!!’

    I thought Fruitcake NEVER got eaten but rather just passed around as a gift year after year after year. 😉

  25. I agree – the fruit cake sounds delicious. Now of course if you wanted it to be an ‘Island style’ fruit cake, dark rum is used!

  26. I did too until my dear husband received one and he loved it!!! He was so thrilled when they were on sale after the holidays at dirt cheap prices.

  27. Gwendolyn, so you were doing your garden in the 50s, so you are now what? About 70 or 80 years old? Or even older?
    We can figure out a liar you know. From your first comment you were suspicious. None of your comments add up. One moment you are Christian, next you are Muslim, next you are Mormon, and you don’t know anything much about any of these religions, you make it clear you have only superficial knowledge.
    And then you make up stories of people visiting you behaving in a totally uncharacteristic manner. You have read some stuff and now you make up stories but you haven’t read enough to make them convincing.
    We are on to you, quit doing it.

    btw, Carol really pays her commentators really well.

  28. @Aafke – ‘btw, Carol really pays her commentators really well.’

    Now I’m PISSED, I haven’t even gotten my 3 millionth visitor prize and now I hear that some of you get PAID ‘really well’! Argh!!! 😛

    Aafke, Re: Gwen, I’m sure she meant the 1950’s not her age.

    But Aafke, you need to stop being so dang mean, or is that what you get paid to do? Perhaps that is why I don’t get any $$. I’m just too sweet?

  29. Nobody could ever claim you were too sweet dear Lynn :wicked:
    But you did get a prize right?

    No, not her age, if Gwen was tending her garden in the 1950s, she would not be a baby, so let’s say 10 or older, that would make her at least 70, and giving her thoughts at that time, she is now more like 80, 90 years old. At least according to her stories.

  30. @Aafke – au contraire mon ami! There are a couple delusional people that think I am too sweetI My husband being one and Coolred being the other (just a guess) 😉

    No, I NEVER got my prize and I’ve never been paid for a comment 😦

    (imagine how RICH I’d be! especially if we’d got paid more for the snarky/cheeky ones)

    Anywho, re: her age, she was tending a garden with her evil stepfather at the whip. She could have been 5 yrs old at the time and remember 50’s go all the way to 1959. I’m going to have to wait for the next ‘clue’. 🙂

  31. Our tap water has some dirt in it- and it tastes strongly of clorine- so I use bottled water for all cooking.

    Last I heard the newest plans for desalinization plants will be solar run- which makes perfect sense her. Probably more immediately practical than cold fusion.

  32. Saudi Arabia seems to be the perfect country for solar energy, I understand the sun shines quite a lot there.

    Lynn, I know Carol has something ready for you, be patient!

  33. ‘Lynn, I know Carol has something ready for you’

    Uh oh…

  34. Lynn has never emailed me as I had asked!

  35. Serious? lol

  36. Email the lady already, Lynn! 😛

  37. @carol – abdullah loved fruitcake,so does F 🙂
    My daughter usually soakes the fruits in rum ( and she demands i buy a good quality one) , we’ve convinced F that it’s ok since the baking process burns off the alcohol ! of course we don’t douse it with rum after the baking since we still have underage kids at home 🙂

    apparently it takes 5 days or so for the flavors to marry !!!!! huh who knew.

  38. @Susanne – I did! I did! lol

  39. Lynn…I have often lived with a certain amount of self delusion…but would never go so far to imagine you were “just too sweet”. Not sure I could swan dive into self delusion wholesale like that.

  40. ‘Not sure I could swan dive into self delusion wholesale like that.’

    Sure you can!

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