By Gavin Gibbon
The kingdom is one of the world's most arid countries, with less than 100 millimetres of rainfall a year
Saudi Arabia has approved plans to implement cloud-seeding in a bid to increase rainfall in the kingdom by almost 20 percent.
The move by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, was passed by the Saudi cabinet and comes amid heightened pressures on the country’s water supply.
The kingdom is one of the world’s most arid countries, with less than 100 millimetres 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.
The demand for water has almost reached 24bn cubic metres a year.
Cloud seeding involves flying light aircraft into the base of clouds and releasing flares containing potassium chloride, sodium chloride and magnesium. The mixture encourages water vapour in the clouds to form droplets heavy enough to fall as rain.