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Saudi groundwater “will run out in 13 years”

(Arabian Business)  Saudi Arabia’s groundwater will run out in the next 13 years, according to a water expert at King Faisal University, reported the Saudi Gazette.

A faculty member at the university, Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, made the announcement following an issued report by the World Bank on global natural water scarcity.

“Official estimates have been disclosed showing an acute drop in water levels in agricultural areas, and that indicates the seriousness of the situation,” said Al-Ghamdi.

The drop is largely due to agricultural consumption, which makes up 95 percent of total usage. Industrial and human consumption make up the remaining 5 percent.

Saudi Arabia relies mainly on its groundwater, which accounts for 98 percent of its total water sources, and water from desalination plants.

According to Al-Ghamdi, the depletion causes a threat to main crops like wheat, barley, forage, and fruits, which use large amounts of water.

He said the only way to solve the problem is to renew groundwater.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar, governor of Riyadh, also called for the conservation of water as well as energy, another excessively used resource in the Kingdom.

“Water and electricity are very important to each and every one of us. Let’s conserve them and use them properly and wisely,” he said at the Saudi Forum on Water and Electricity on Sunday.

However, Saudi’s Water and Electricity minister said the country will need an investment of $133 billion (SR500 billion) for power projects over the next 10 years to cope with rising demand.