Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 1959–1971 | Cite as

Implications of Climate Change on Water Resources in Saudi Arabia

Research Article - Civil Engineering


Effects of climate change on water resources in Saudi Arabia were investigated. Changes of precipitation, temperature, relative humidity and wind speed were predicted. Net solar radiation was estimated from solar radiation monitoring stations. Changes in reference evapotranspiration (ETo) were estimated using Penman–Monteith approach. The estimations were performed for 49 grids (2.5° Latitude × 3.75° Longitude) covering Saudi Arabia (Latitude: 16.5 ° N–32.5 ° N; Longitude: 33.75 ° E–56.25 ° E). The averages of ETo were estimated to be 0.245 and 0.368 m/year (0.343–0.394 m/year) in the year 2011 and 2050, respectively. The rates of ETo were predicted to be higher in the Southern part than the Northern part of the country. The difference between ETo and precipitation indicates that there may be a loss of soil moisture by 0.181 m/year (0.042–0.236 m/year) during the period of 2011 through 2050. Increase in temperature was estimated to be 1.8–4.1 °C, which can increase agricultural water demands by 5–15 % to obtain the current level of agricultural productions. This study anticipates significant reductions in water sources, which can impose further stress on agriculture and drinking water sources. Deterioration of source water quality is also expected. This study sheds light on the need for appropriate measures to protect water resources in Saudi Arabia.


Effects of climatic change Evapotranspiration Global warming Water resources Water quality Agricultural water demands 


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© King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Water Research GroupKing Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia

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