Global groundwater resources have been threatened by both climate change and anthropogenic activities. Both factors could lead to groundwater depletion that might seriously threaten the living environment and food security. As one of the world’s most water-stressed countries, Saudi Arabia has experienced long-term groundwater depletion due to excessive groundwater abstraction to meet the irrigation water demand. Moreover, rainfall and groundwater recharge are considered extremely low in most places in the Kingdom. Hence, a comprehensive assessment of groundwater risk in Saudi Arabia is necessary to avoid a worse scenario. The main objective of this study is to use the composite index to evaluate the groundwater risk in the Arabian Basin in Saudi Arabia. To achieve the objective, multiple variables, such as groundwater storage variations, groundwater reserves, total cropland area, and cropland expansion were integrated. The integration between physical hydrogeological assessment and anthropogenic factors is assumed to be a comprehensive risk measurement. Based on the final score, results demonstrated that Jouf and Najran could be classified as high-risk (17/100) and low-risk areas (71/100), respectively. The groundwater risk status was affected mainly by anthropogenic factors. Results of this study could serve as a diagnostic tool for decision-makers to prioritize and develop sustainable schemes, especially in high-risk areas.
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- Composite index
- Multicriteria decision-making
ASJC Scopus subject areas