Water reuse in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – status, prospects and research needs

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Saudi Arabia is one of the driest countries in the world. While desalination plants currently installed in the country represent 30% of the world's desalination capacity, seawater desalination alone will not be able to provide sufficient supplies to meet the increasing freshwater demand. However, with only 9% of the total municipal wastewater generated currently being reused, the kingdom is projected as the third largest reuse market after China and the USA, and reuse capacities are projected to increase by 800% by 2016. This projected growth and the change in water portfolios offer tremendous opportunities to integrate novel approaches of water reclamation and reuse. This paper highlights the current status of reuse in the kingdom, discusses prospects of using distributed infrastructure for reuse tailored to local needs as well as the use of artificial recharge and recovery systems for reclaimed water. It also suggests research needs to helping overcoming barriers for wastewater reuse.

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