The Technopolitics of Desalination in Saudi-Arabia

Pauline Raabe

In: PolisReflects 1(1), pp. 86-92

Despite its location in one of the most arid regions
worldwide, Saudi Arabia is the third largest water consumer
per capita. Desalination technology turns seawater into
the main source for drinking water, fuelled by petroleum in
order to provide its population with water. Besides, control
over water infrastructure contributes to the state’s distributive
power within the Saudi Arabian rentier economy.
However, increasing demand for water on the one hand and
scarcity of and declining demand for oil on the other hand
urge the government to reconceptualise its water and energy
policies as illustrated in the reform program Vision 2030.
With reference to the concept of technopolitics, it will be illustrated
how Saudi Arabia attempts to maintain the power
while its commitment to environmentally friendly water
supply remains rather superficial.
Keywords: desalination, technopolitics, Saudi-Arabia,

Vision 2030, water scarcity

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