Aquifers are a major source of water in Saudi Arabia. They are vast underground reservoirs of water. In the 1970s, the government undertook a major effort to locate and map such aquifers and estimate their capacity. As a result, it was able to drill tens of thousands of deep tube wells in the most promising areas for both urban and agricultural use. Another major source of water is the sea. This is done through desalination, a process that produces potable water from brackish seawater. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water. The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) operates 27 desalination stations that produce more than three million cubic meters a day of potable water. These plants provide more than 70 percent of the water used in cities, as well as a sizeable portion of the needs of industry. They are also a major source of electric power generation. A network of dams has been built to trap and utilize precious seasonal floods. Vast underground water reservoirs have been tapped through deep wells. Desalination plants have been built to produce fresh water from the sea for urban and industrial use, thus freeing other sources for agriculture. Facilities have also been put into place to treat urban and industrial runoff for agricultural irrigation.
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