GE White Paper: Here’s How Water Reuse Can Increasingly Satisfy Saudi Arabia’s Thirst for Water

GE White Paper: Here’s How Water Reuse Can Increasingly Satisfy Saudi Arabia’s Thirst for Water
February 18, 2015 at 01:02pm

Saudi Arabia is consuming approximately 7 billion cubic meters of water every day. This means that every 12 days, the Kingdom consumes as much water as flows down the Nile River in a year! Sixty percent of this water is desalinated using fossil fuel power, while the remainder coming from essentially non-renewable water aquifers.

This isn’t sustainable, as the Kingdom’s leadership and policymakers well understand, and it’s why water reuse is set to increase dramatically.

A just released GE white paper on the topic, called “Addressing Water Scarcity in Saudi Arabia: Policy Options for Continued Success,” provides an overview of the issues, along with four specific policy options to help increase water reuse in the Kingdom.

The paper finds that while reuse of treated wastewater has already reached an impressive 30%-40%, there is tremendous potential to enhance water reuse seven fold, to 241 million cubic meters per year.

The white paper highlights four major water reuse policy options: education and outreach, removing barriers, incentives, and mandates and regulation.

Education and outreach includes initiatives such as recognition awards and certification programs, and information dissemination and educational outreach. Removing barriers looks at revising plumbing codes and modifying local regulations to require that all recycled water meet potable standards.

Incentives as a policy option evaluates the scope of direct subsidies, pricing mechanisms and structuring water rights, while mandates and regulation propose restricting potable water to human and food-related uses, as well as encouraging utility companies to develop plans for recycled water.

In highlighting the water reuse patters in the Kingdom, the white paper finds that agriculture is the largest consumer of recycled water, with landscaping, industries and recreational uses following in that order. Other elements of the white paper include an overview of the water-reuse landscape in the Kingdom, technology options to address water-reuse challenges and successful case studies from markets including Bahrain.

Presented at the ongoing Water Arabia 2015 Conference & Exhibition by Jon Freedman, Global Government Affairs Leader — Water and Process Technologies for GE Power & Water, the white paper reflects GE’s support to the Kingdom’s National Water Strategy by providing strong policy options, as well as the advanced technologies that can help achieve the goal. GE also showcased its advanced range of desalination and water reuse technologies at the exhibition

Saudi Arabia aims to increase water reuse to more than 65% by 2020 and over 90% by 2040 by transforming its existing and planned wastewater treatment assets into source water suppliers across all sectors. The international water consultancy Global Water Intelligence reports that water reuse in the Kingdom will increase at an annual rate of 4%, from 2,367 million cubic meters per day to 5,834 million cubic meters per day in 2035. It also says Saudi Arabia aims to achieve 100% reuse of wastewater from cities with 5,000 inhabitants or more by 2025.

With a strong industry track record in delivering over 800 million liters of water for drinking, irrigation and municipal uses across the Middle East & North Africa, GE has been closely associated with the region’s water industry and has  supported Saudi Arabia’s power and water sector for decades.

Two prime examples of GE’s regional investment in the sector are the GE Saudi Water & Process Technology Center in Dammam, Saudi Arabia and the GE Water & Process Technologies Regional Center of Excellence in Jebel Ali in the UAE.Saudi Arabia is consuming approximately 7 billion cubic meters of water every day. This means that every 12 days, the Kingdom consumes as much water as flows down the Nile River in a year! Sixty percent of this water is desalinated using fossil fuel power, while the remainder coming from essentially non-renewable water aquifers.

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