An Investigation of Water Awareness and Public Participation in Integrated Urban Water Management in Saudi Arabia

  • Abdullah Mohammed Alsaluli

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research presents an overview of interpretative analysis of water awareness and positive public participation in integrated urban water management (IUWM) in Saudi Arabia. The research targeted different stakeholders to investigate the current practices and visions, in order to determine the extent to which IUWM could be enhanced by positive stakeholder participation and public awareness. The study investigates the views of a number of key public stakeholder groups within Saudi society, all of whom have a public interface within the selected section of society. Data collection was through in-person administering of hardcopy questionnaires in Riyadh, Jeddah and Albaha, collecting responses from a wide range of stakeholder groups, including teachers, policy makers, water professionals and managers, environmental managers, technical practitioners and engineers, industrial managers, lecturers and researchers, and from the general public. A feature of the methodology for this project, in particular, is the identification of opportunities for transferring learning from UK experiences to the Saudi situation. Five water companies/managers in the UK, face-to-face interviews were used to collect data. Overall, this research focuses on the social-economic (political, economic and cultural) rather than the physical (environmental, ecological, hydrological) dimensions of IUWM.
The research is a significant improvement to current knowledge because it has evaluated the potential for public engagement/positive public participation in IUWM in Saudi Arabia. It has presented strong indications that the kingdom needs to move significantly towards this approach (IUWM) to current methods of water management and that public engagement/positive public participation should be seen as an important component. Therefore, the research proposes strategies for stimulating and harnessing public engagement in water issues. The findings present that there is a need to develop stakeholders’ knowledge by increasing current understanding relating to IUWM in the institutional, educational, environmental, industrial and social fields/sectors. In order to achieve that the process will occur optimally through building a strong foundation for collaboration within the water sector to encourage Saudi society to participate in the implementation of IUWM. This should be partly based on positive public participation resulting from high public awareness of water issues. The project presents the public water awareness level of water issues and the potential role from different perspectives in raising levels of awareness and engagement in water management. In particular, the views of water managers from the UK were analysed in order to evaluate if these practices were transferable to the Saudi situation.
The analysis and evaluation of the data overview presents significant new knowledge that can contribute to the implementation of IUWM in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The proposed paradigm of this research demonstrates how a thorough knowledge of the needs and expectations of water users is essential in order to target campaigns to raise awareness and stimulate engagement in the process of IUWM. A successful campaign will be based on communication and this communication will in turn produce positive actions with respect to water use.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorAbdullahi Ahmed (Supervisor) & John Davies (Supervisor)

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