Water saving is crucial for the survival of agriculture in Saudi Arabia. Natural ground water resources are depleting by the extensive water use for agriculture. At the Estidamah research center in Riyadh water saving technologies for protected horticulture are evaluated in the harsh climatic conditions. Different levels of technology, viz., low, mid and high-tech were evaluated based on water use, energy consumption and production. The low-tech greenhouse is a plastic tunnel greenhouse cooled using a pad and fan system. This type of greenhouse is normally used for year-round production. The mid-tech greenhouse has a glass covering and is also cooled using the pad and fan system though here the amount of ventilation can be regulated using frequency-controlled fans. Finally, the high-tech greenhouse was considered which is a closed greenhouse. The cooling and dehumidification were done using coolers. The center is now in operation for more than two years so the water use over the year for the various types of greenhouse technologies can be evaluated. The water use for cooling in the mid-tech greenhouse is 30% less than what is used in the low-tech greenhouses. The water saving in the high-tech greenhouse is more than 95%.
- Energy use