Time to save the source of all life
Gold, silver, copper, iron, platinum, gypsum and limestone are, among others, naturally occurring materials found across Saudi Arabia. Reserves are estimated to be in the millions of tons, which is hardly surprising, with the Kingdom being the 14th largest country in the world and famed for having an abundance of valuable commodities buried beneath it. Ours is, primarily, an oil-based economy, but it makes sense to invest in and develop resources such as these for the future.
But there is one resource we lack. One more valuable than gold, silver, and all the oil in the world. It is the source of all life, and something we often take for granted: Water. We barely consider the depleted reserves of this most precious resource we shall eventually bequeath to our grandchildren. We do not see clean water as the wonder that it is: So rare in some countries that people die from its scarcity.
How many minutes does it take you to shower? How many of you leave the tap running when brushing your teeth? How much water do you use to clean your car? And how many gallons are used to do the dishes? Do you run the washing machine or dishwater when half full? Does any of the water you use get recycled?
It is estimated that each person uses up to 100 gallons of water per day: 2.5 gallons of water per minute comes out of the average tap, 7 gallons goes down the drain with every flush of the toilet, and up to 10 gallons a minute is lost to the average shower. We must reduce the waste.
As more and more areas around the world suffer from drought, and as climate change causes hotter temperatures, water has become more vital than ever. By saving water, we are not only doing future generations a favor, but are helping to preserve the environment and reduce pollution.
It is time for this subject to come to the fore of public discourse — for people to save water and teach their children about conservation. It is time for campaigns to raise awareness in schools, universities and businesses. It is time for all of us to wake up and become conscious citizens.
• Hoda Al-Helaissi has been a member of the Shoura Council since 2013, and sits on its Foreign Affairs Committee.