Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdul Rahman al-Fadhli, launched a plan to implement 18 water projects of $3.2 billion cost over the next ten years to enhance the quality of drinking water all over Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce in the Eastern region, Fadhli said that Water and Electricity Company (WEC) will change its name soon to the “Water Projects” pointing out that the new company will purchase water and will be tasked with water services, treatment, transport and storage to serve the private sector and investment seekers.
The Minister stressed that the ministry wants an agricultural development that does not affect the status of water, and water development to serve the public in Saudi Arabia, including agriculture.
He pointed out that the ministry has completed a platform to support the private sector, in addition to clarifying the regulations and law, which gives impetus to the participation of the private sector in water projects.
The Ministry is working with international companies in the field of water desalination, noted Fadhli, pointing out that local content in modern projects will reach 40 percent at a minimum, and seeks to reach 70 percent in the field of operation and maintenance.
On environmental issues, the minister pointed out that the latest study showed that the cost of environmental impact on Saudi Arabia is about $24 billion per year, noting the need to pay attention to preserving the environment and conservation and development of resources to achieve sustainability.
Regarding the pesticides, Fadhli revealed that next year will witness the implementation of an accurate program through which all employees will be registered, especially after Saudi pesticide products became within the internationally accepted limits.
The Ministry also indicated that the ministry has a vital and significant program for rural development, in which the ministry will invest more than $2.6 billion over the next 10 years.
During the ceremony, several fishing experts discussed the Saudization of this field, stressing that a Saudi fisherman must be on-board of every boat.
In this regard, the Minister of environment said: "We reject the argument that the Saudi citizen refuses working in fishing,” adding that if they do not accept it now, it will be accepted in the future.
“We have programs for motivation, training and encouragement in this field (fishing)”, concluded the Minister.