In Saudi Arabia, where water resources are limited, the availability of energy resources, including petroleum, natural gas and electricity, helped in solving the challenge of satisfying rapid and substantial increases in water demand for drinking and industrial and agricultural purposes. Thirty-five major dual-purpose multi-stage flash distillation (MSF) and reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plants were constructed on the Red Sea and Gulf coast to produce drinking water. The process energy requirements for MSF and RO range between 19.5 and 38 kWh/m3, and 0.5 and 9 kWh/m3, respectively. The MSF plants produce about 20% of the total national electricity production. About 85 000 wells were drilled to satisfy the increasing irrigation water demands. The energy requirements to pump 1 m3 from wells range between 0.4 and 0.8 kWh. The adoption of advanced technologies is continuing to reduce power consumption and water demand to conserve energy and water, and to minimize negative impacts on the environment.

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