News Feature | March 25, 2015

Saudi Arabia Sets Sights On 100% Wastewater Reuse

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Saudi Arabia has set a goal to reuse 100 percent of urban wastewater by 2025.

"Over $66 billion in long-term capital investments have been committed for water and sanitation projects in the Kingdom in the next 10 years, while the government aims to achieve 100 percent reuse of wastewater from cities with 5,000 inhabitants or more by 2025," the Saudi Gazette reported.

Overall, "Saudi Arabia aims to reuse over 65 percent of its water by 2020 and over 90 percent by 2040 by transforming its existing and planned wastewater treatment assets into source water suppliers across all sectors. Valued at over $4.3 billion by Global Water Intelligence, the Kingdom’s water reuse market is the third largest in the world," the report said.

In the past, stringent regulations have been a barrier to more wastewater reuse in Saudi Arabia. "The unrealistically high requirements [frustrated] the development of needed wastewater treatment facilities," according to a study by researchers at Colorado State University. "Conflicts between official standards and practical considerations [caused] confusion and inaccurate accounting."

According to a report by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, significant water challenges are looming over Saudi Arabia's future.

"Water demands are expected to double over the next two decades with rapid population growth and increased urbanization—a shortfall already exists in the six major cities; today, over 80 percent of the KSA water supply is from groundwater aquifers, but this source is expected to last only another 15 to 25 years," the report said.

For more on water reuse, visit Water Online's Water Reuse Solution Center.