A Saudi Water Crisis Lurks Beneath the Surface
Jan 5, 2017 | 10:28 GMT
Editor's Note: This is the 18th installment of an occasional series on water scarcity issues around the world.
Though a desert land devoid of the abundant natural resources often needed for life to thrive, modern Saudi Arabia has always been capable of growth. The driver of this growth — hydrocarbons beneath the earth — mean that lower oil prices hurt the Saudi economy, exacerbating other issues, namely its growing population with high youth unemployment. These domestic concerns have been just as daunting to the Saudi government as have shifting foreign policy priorities in the region. Austerity measures and perpetual tweaks to Saudization — the effort to employ more Saudis instead of using expatriate workers — look to address some of the more pressing employment and public spending issues. Riyadh has also laid out lofty goals for the next decade and a half with its Vision 2030 policy. But the question now is what could hamper these ambitions. And underneath it all is one of Saudi Arabia's main resource constraints: water.