Cloud-seeding plan aims to increase rainfall in Saudi Arabia by 20 percent

The ministry said the cloud-seeding program targets specific types of clouds, using their physical properties to stimulate rainfall. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 13 February 2020

Cloud-seeding plan aims to increase rainfall in Saudi Arabia by 20 percent

  • The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said the program was developed after a review of global practices and visits to other countries in the region
  • The Kingdom is one of the world’s most arid countries, with less than 100 millimeters of rainfall a year

RIYADH: The Saudi cabinet has approved a cloud-seeding program that aims to increase rainfall in the Kingdom by almost 20 percent.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said the program was developed after a review of global practices and visits to other countries in the region to study their experiences of cloud seeding. It is a response to the growing pressure placed on water resources by population growth, in addition to significant growth in the industrial, energy, transportation, mining and agricultural sectors, where demand for water has almost reached 24 billion cubic meters a year.

The Kingdom is one of the world’s most arid countries, with less than 100 millimeters of rainfall a year. Almost 2.7 billion cubic meters of seawater are desalinated each year, but about 80 to 85 percent of the Kingdom’s demand is met by groundwater sources. This rate of extraction is greater than the rate of replacement, given the low rainfall.

The ministry said the cloud-seeding program targets specific types of clouds, using their physical properties to stimulate rainfall. Catalysts are sown, some of which are natural, in these clouds to release the largest possible amount of water. The ministry stressed that cloud-seeding does not create clouds; instead, it increases rainfall by providing cloud condensation nuclei.

The Kingdom began studying cloud seeding in 1976 in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization. An agreement was signed with the University of Wyoming, in the US, to conduct the first cloud-seeding experiments, which took place in Asir in 1990. The experiments have continued in the Kingdom’s central regions, specifically Riyadh, Qassim and Hail, as well as the northwest and southwest, with the participation of a group of specialist Saudi scientists. The results proved that the clouds have seeding potential.


Saudi Arabia announces 16 more deaths from COVID-19 as restrictions partially eased

Updated 28 May 2020

Saudi Arabia announces 16 more deaths from COVID-19 as restrictions partially eased

  • The health ministry announced 3,531 new cases of recovery
  • Saudi Arabia will see a partial ease in coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Thursday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 16 more deaths from the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 1,644 new cases of the disease on Thursday.
The health ministry urged citizens and residents to abide by measures to prevent the spread of the virus as the Kingdom starts to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Thursday.
Of the new cases, 611 were recorded in Riyadh, 360 in Jeddah, 148 in Makkah, 101 in Dammam and 91 in Hufof.
The health ministry also announced 3,531 new cases of recovery, which brings the total number of patients who have recovered in the Kingdom so far to 54,553.
A total of 441 people have died from the coronavirus in the Kingdom so far.