RIYADH — The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture has announced a significant step forward in water management and planning by signing a contract to establish a geographical information system (GIS) for water planning. This initiative aims to create a smart water digital platform aligning with international best practices for the water sector within the Kingdom.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Shaibani, Undersecretary of the Ministry, detailed that the project's goal is to develop smart digital systems for water information and risk management, thereby enhancing decision-making processes and conducting essential water analyses. This ambitious project is set to unfold in seven phases, with a completion target set for 2026.

The initial phase focuses on evaluating the current state of water data and digital systems. It will be followed by a phase dedicated to identifying and adopting international best practices. The third stage will conduct a gap analysis and inventory of the water sector's needs and requirements regarding data and digital systems. Subsequently, the fourth stage aims to develop a comprehensive plan for establishing the necessary databases and improving digital systems.

Al-Shaibani said the fifth and sixth phases, planned for 2025, involve designing and building an integrated institutional water database and developing smart digital water systems for trial operation. The project's final phase, scheduled for 2026, will focus on providing solutions and consultancy support to ensure the smooth operation of databases and smart digital systems.

The digital platform promises a range of advanced features, including mobile applications, satellite and remote sensing data processing, and geospatial data processing engines. It will offer an advanced dashboard with smart graphics and capabilities for conducting geospatial analyses for various applications. Additionally, the platform will incorporate task management, process scheduling, data processing, and incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning models, making it a comprehensive tool capable of catering to the diverse needs of users in a sophisticated and sustainable manner.

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