Assignment Title: WATER PROVISION





Course: Module Code: FC502 or IYO502

Module Title: Skills for Study 2

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Assessment Title: Final Report

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Water Provision


Water access and availability is gradually becoming an issue of concern in semiarid and arid parts of the world. The semi arid and arid regions around the world only account for a meager 2% of global precipitation and runoff. This can be compared with wet regions such as the Amazon River basin that accounts for 16% of the world’s precipitation and runoff. Scarcity of precipitation and runoff compounds problems for semiarid and arid regions around the world.

Increase in population, declining water resources and change in weather and climate patterns have strained the existing water resources necessitating the need for immediate solutions to water problems. There are various means of enhancing water supply and access in semi arid and arid regions. Such methods include desalination, surface water importing, re-use, water efficiency or conservation, storm-water capture and groundwater treatment and development.


Water is a precious commodity in semi arid and arid regions and is termed as a source of conflict and tensions between communities using similar sources of water. This demands the need for responsible development and management of social resources in semi arid and arid regions as a means of achieving prosperity. The re are tow primary water provision techniques that have gained widespread use in arid regions such as the Arabian peninsula due to its proximity to the ocean and the pressing need to conserve water (Foster et al., 2004, p. 84)

Regions such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia emphasized over the past years the need for water conversation as well as development of new techniques for enhancing access to clean water for its population. Saudi Arabia has made significant investments in desalinization of seawater due to its proximity to the ocean and the increase in population size and respective demand for clean water. In addition, other considerable investments have been made in wastewater and sewerage treatment as a means of enhancing the access and availability of clean water in the country. Non-renewable water from aquifers also provides a significant source of water to meet the needs in the country (Jones, 2010, p. 21).


Water desalination and non-renewable groundwater mining are two main examples of techniques used in various countries around the world as avenues for enhancing water supply and conservation of the scarce commodity. 50% of water consumed in Saudi Arabia is derived from desalinization, 10% from surface water in the mountains in the southern parts of the country and the remaining 40% is derived from non-renewable groundwater aquifers (Elhadj, 2005, p. 45).

  1. Water Desalination

This is termed as a process that involves the removal of the dissolved salts in brackish or seawater. Water desalination has gained prominence over the year given the vast water bodies with seawater or brackish water that could provide water for domestic consumption. This forms the largest source of clean water for Saudi Arabia at 50% of water consumed in the country.

  1. Non Renewable Water Mining

Groundwater resources provide efficient and adequate sources of water for dry or semi arid and arid regions. Natural aquifers have capacities for water flow and water storage. This technique accounts for 40% of the water consumed in the country and is effective in meeting clean water needs and demand in the country.


Water provision is techniques are largely influenced by three primary factors namely sustainability, cost, and public perception. The two methods identified as seawater or brackish water desalination and non-renewable groundwater extraction are selected based on their respective benefits to cost to users (Jones, 2010, p. 29)


Water Desalination

This is termed as a process that involves the removal of the dissolved salts in brackish or seawater.

  1. Cost:

Desalination processes attract significant costs in terms of energy used for the desalination process. However, this is not a primary issue of concern for Saudi Arabia. This is because of the availability of funds, gas, petroleum and solar power that can be used to generate energy in such plants.

  1. Sustainability:

It is efficient and sustainable. It is a renewable source of water because water cycles replenish seawater.

  1. Public Perception:

It is approved highly by the public because of the availability and access to seawater. This can be used to ensure water security for a growing population.

Non-Renewable Water Mining

Groundwater resources provide efficient and adequate sources of water for dry or semi arid and arid regions. Natural aquifers have capacities for water flow and water storage.

  1. Cost:

Expensive to obtain and demands capital-intensive procedures to reach water aquifers. However, modern technologies have enhanced the techniques for water drilling thus making it less expensive than water desalination.

  1. Sustainability:

It is less sustainable given the time that it takes to replenish underground water aquifers. It may take 100-10000 years to replenish underground water aquifers making it less sustainable and efficient for public use.

  1. Public Perception:

It is highly preferred by people due to the perception that it is clean and fresh, making it ideal for domestic or consumption purposes.


Both techniques are vital for providing people in semi arid and arid regions with access to clean and fresh water amid declining water sources. Water desalination is largely preferable because of the replenishing of water through water cycles associated with precipitation and evaporation (Jones, 2010, p. 33).


Water desalination is highly effective for countries and regions that have the adequate resources such as capital to undertake capital-intensive programs of setting up desalination plants. On the other hand, aquifers are less intensive in terms of capital than desalination and provide cost effective solutions for accessing clean water for masses. The downside is the slow process of replenishing the source making them less preferred than desalination processes.






Elhadj, E, 2005, Experiments In Achieving Water And Food Self-Sufficiency In The Middle East: The Consequences Of Contrasting Endowments, Ideologies And Investment Policies In Saudi Arabia And Syria, Boca Raton: Florida.

Foster S S D, Garduno H, Evans R, Tian Y, Zhang W & Han, Z 2004, “Groundwater-Irrigated Agriculture On The North China Plain – Assessing And Achieving Sustainability”, Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 12, pp. 81–93.

Jones T C 2010, Desert Kingdom: How Oil And Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.



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