The concept of virtual water content (VWC) may facilitate an understanding of total water demand for commodity production. The water consumption for livestock production forms a significant fraction of freshwater demand in arid regions, i.e., Saudi Arabia. In this paper, VWC was estimated for different livestocks in the 13 regions of Saudi Arabia. The VWC for camel production was also estimated, which has not been investigated in the previous studies. The overall VWC for livestock in Saudi Arabia was about 10.5 and 8.9 billion m3 in 2006 and 2010, respectively. This study shows the decreasing trend of overall VWC in producing livestock in Saudi Arabia. The VWC were highest in Riyadh followed by Eastern region, Qaseem, Hail, and Makkah with ranges of 3587–4112, 1684–2044, 1007–1331, 644–810, and 504–715 million m3/year, respectively. The results demonstrate that a shift in diet from the high VWC meat to low VWC meat may reduce the overall VWC for livestock production. The findings of this analysis provide an assessment of the quantity and trend of water demand for livestock production in Saudi Arabia, which is useful to assess the development of an information-based agricultural water management strategy.
Applied Water Science – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 19, 2017
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