Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister Abdulaziz Al-Shaibani said that the Kingdom has allocated a budget of more than $80 billion to implement hundreds of water projects in the coming years.
The allocation is part of efforts to achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all, Al Shaibani, who is the Deputy Minister for Water at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, said.
It may be mentioned here that a rapidly growing population, on track to reach 38.5 million by 2030, and a staggeringly high daily water consumption rate, at nearly 1600 litres per capita, has motivated Saudi Arabia’s efforts to boost sustainable water production and curb skyrocketing demand.
The Kingdom’s water requirements, which was estimated at 24.8 billion cubic meters in 2015, was witnessing a steady annual increase of 7%. The agricultural sector represents the largest consumer of water in the Kingdom, accounting for 84% of the total water demand.
Al-Shaibani further affirmed that Saudi Arabia is on track to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 due to water sector reorganization and the formulation of the National Water Strategy.
Preserve and Protect Resources
The national strategy aims to maintain water resources, protect the environment, and deliver high-quality, efficient services. Its objectives are consistent with SDG6 in terms of ensuring global access to clean and safe water, he said.
“The Kingdom aspires to provide sanitation services to all by increasing the percentage of the population covered by sanitation services to be more than 95% by 2030. Saudi Arabia also established the National Water Efficiency and Conservation Centre,” Al-Shaibani said at the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York.
The Deputy Minister also highlighted that sustainable and resilient water management was on the G20 agenda. He emphasized that the Kingdom is on track to enhance agricultural water demand management to meet SDG6.
The strategy has 10 programs, including the involvement of the private sector in production and wastewater treatment, which focuses on pooling production and wastewater treatment assets to privatize them.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia allocated funds for water projects within the five-year capital portfolio of the environment in July 2022. The five-year capital portfolio includes 1,335 projects.