Grants Pass, OR (PRWEB) January 28, 2014
Fresh water security in Saudi Arabia is dangerously precarious, warns L. DeWayne Cecil, Ph.D., a former global climatologist and Atmospheric Scientist for NASA and NOAA. A two-year drought could throw this mostly desert country into chaos, which could pose a threat to the many countries dependent on Saudi oil to drive their economies.
Cecil made the comments during a recent interview on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® syndicated radio show on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes.
L. DeWayne Cecil, Ph.D., had a distinguished career as a Climatologist in academia and government, and now in the private sector. He has been employed by the USGS Water Resources Discipline, the NASA Science Mission Directorate, and was Director of NOAA’a Western Region Climate Services. His is currently Chief Climatologist for Global Science and Technology, Inc.
In addition to hosting the Sharon Kleyne Hour radio show, Sharon Kleyne is Founder of Bio Logic Aqua Research, specializing in fresh water and health research, education and product development. Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® for dehydrated eyes is the Research Center’s global signature product.
According to Dr. Cecil, Saudi Arabia has 27 million people and 2013 was the world’s number two petroleum producer, after Russia and slightly ahead of the United States. The US is projected to become number one in 2015 (Lawler, A., “US to become world’s top oil producer in 2015,” MSN News, 11-13-13).
Despite having the world’s 19th largest economy, says Cecil, Saudi Arabia faces many challenges. According to Cecil, only 0.7% of their land surface is fresh water, compared to 13.5% in New York State. Saudi Arabia has no year-round rivers and almost no lakes. One-percent of Saudi land is arable compared to 16% in the United States (“Saudi Arabia,” CIA World Factbook, 2013).
Sharon Kleyne observed that the Saudi fresh water supply is precarious and sporadic, with frequent service interruptions. Fifty-percent of their fresh water, Kleyne explained, comes from desalinization plants and 10% comes from surface water capture. The other 40% comes from the mining of non-renewable ground water. According to Dr. Cecil, four-fifths of the ground water reserve has already been mined (Elie Elhadj, “Household water and sanitation services in Saudi Arabia,” Water Research Group, U. of London, 2004).
Due to the shortage of water and arable land, Cecil notes, Saudi Arabia is largely dependent on food imports According to Cecil, the Saudis recently signed a 99-year agreement with Ethiopia to lease 500,000 hectares of land that would grow food, using Ethiopian labor, exclusively for Saudi consumption.
According to Cecil, Ethiopia is politically unstable and drought prone. A two-year drought or a local rebellion could sabotage the Saudi food supply.
Instability in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Cecil warns, could have serious consequences for the United States and its trading partners. According to Cecil, shortages in Saudi Arabia could destabilize that country. This could effect Saudi oil production and impact many US trading partners.
Both Dr. Cecil and Sharon Kleyne called for increased efforts by the US to improve fresh water and food security globally, and for nations to resolve trans-border and internal water disputes through negotiation rather than conflict. Cecil and Kleyne also noted that as long as the United States continues to have no consistent national water policy, energy policy or climate change policy, it will be difficult to become a global leader or mediator in these areas.
Kleyne and Cecil agreed that providing a safe and stable water supply should be the top priority of every government on Earth. According to Kleyne, water is the basis of life, food, health and all economic activity.
Dr. Cecil was interviewed by Sharon Kleyne on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show of January 13, 2014. The interview may be heard via podcast at http://www.VoiceAmerica.com or http://www.sharonkleynehour.com. Live shows air on Mondays at 10:00 a.m. PST.