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Saudi Arabia is drilling for a resource possibly more precious than oil by tapping hidden reserves of water in the Syrian Desert.
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These images show the growth of farmland in Saudi Arabia. With little to no rainfall annually, these fields are irrigated by mining for water deep in underground aquifers. This investment into agriculture by Saudi Arabia, an oil rich country which can buy the food it needs, suggests that the nation is concerned with the production of the food it buys or the sustainability of its oil wealth. Problematic, though, would be the long-term agricultural plans as the method being used for acquiring irrigation water is only sustainable for 50 years.
Saudi Arabia may have an abundance of oil, however, they do not have an abundance of water and fertile soil. Saudi Arabia could import plenty of food with the profits they receive from oil production. It appears they are attempting to be more self-sufficient and trying to invest in agriculture, with the hopes of growing their own food and other crops. This country will not have oil forever, and it appears they are planning for the future.
In any society, survival trumps economy. In this case water and oil are the respective area of focus in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been tapping into aquifers under the Arabian desert in order to grow food. This is a move of independence; as the NAFTA agreement may allow the Americas to be energy-independent, Saudi Arabia needs a backup plan to become a little more independent itself as their oil money decreases. However, this water source is limited and is ecologically very unsound since the desert climate is not good for water and plants.