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The Arabian Aquifer System is primarily located in Saudi Arabia but also in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen.[1]

Starting in the 1980s, Saudi Arabia's rapid agricultural development fueled by government involvement and subsidies resulted in a large increase in water being drawn from the aquifers in the system, many of which are non-renewable.[2] In 1995, an estimated 15.2 km3 of water was removed from the aquifer per year.[3] By 2004, it is observed many natural springs in the area had dried up and the aquifers were turning brackish.[2] According to NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite data (2003–2013) analysed in a University of California, Irvine (UCI)-led study published in Water Resources Research on 16 June 2015, 60 million people depend on it for water and it is the most over-stressed aquifer system in the world.[1] The Saudi agricultural sector was shut down after depleting four fifths of its aquifers, which prompted Saudi Arabia to look for less arid land elsewhere, one example being in Ethiopia, causing water conflict as a result.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Study: Third of Big Groundwater Basins in Distress", NASA, 16 June 2015, retrieved 16 August 2018
  2. ^ a b "Camels Don't Fly, Deserts Don't Bloom: an Assessment of Saudi Arabia's Experiment in Desert Agriculture" (PDF), SOAS, University of London, May 2004, retrieved 17 August 2018
  3. ^ Laurence Chery; Ghislain de Marsily (18 October 2007). Aquifer Systems Management: Darcy’s Legacy in a World of Impending Water Shortage: Selected Papers on Hydrogeology 10. CRC Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-203-93459-3. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Saudi Arabia Stakes a Claim on the Nile". Retrieved 17 August 2018.