Saudi conservation device extends water well life

The Ministry of Water and Electricity is responsible for the invention of a water conservation device that can also extend the life of water wells by at least five years.

The Ministry of Water and Electricity is responsible for the invention of a water conservation device that can also extend the life of water wells by at least five years.

Dr. Riaz Ahmed, the inventor of the device, told the local press in Riyadh that the new water conservation technique would not have been possible without constant pressure from the ministry asking water drilling contractors to do something to prolong the life of these wells. Dr. Riaz is an internationally recognised expert in groundwater resources engineering and development.

Referring to what he called "the critical water situation in the Kingdom and other Gulf states," Dr. Riaz said one of the major factors for the water shortage was that the Kingdom has not received adequate rainfall for the last four years. Water and Electricity Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi had issued strict instructions to all water drilling contractors not to drill without a license.

According to Dr. Riaz, he drilled the world's deepest water well north of Riyadh - some 2,670-m-deep. The cost of drilling varies from US$ 480 to US$ 533 per metre. At such a depth, the water temperature rises to 68º C. Under optimum conditions, water can be pumped at a rate of 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per minute (gpm), but encrustation causes this to drop to 200 to 300 gpm, he explained.

The cementation collar tool made of steel and aluminium prevents contamination of cement used in the steel casing inside the water well. This checks corrosion and also contamination of the groundwater. "It has already been tested successfully under Water Ministry supervision," Dr. Riaz said, adding that there had been a steady growth in demand for the device.

The launch of the water conservation device coincided with the recent announcement of the Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz International Prize for Water which carries a cash award of US$ 133,000 for outstanding research and innovation in water fields, including surface water (effective flood control methods), groundwater (artificial groundwater recharge), alternative (non-traditional) water resources, water resources management (new techniques for irrigation water conservation) and protection of water resources (protection of ground water from agricultural pollutants). The last date for nominations for the prize is Oct. 30.

More in Drinking Water