Brad Lancaster  @  ChelseaGreen

View All of Brad Lancaster's Posts

Palm Oasis and Red Bread at Al Absaa, Saudi Arabia

Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010 at 7:55 am by Brad Lancaster

by Brad Lancaster,, © 2010

Number 3 in a series of Drops in a Bucket blog entries on Brad Lancaster’s and David Eisenberg’s U.S. State Department-sponsored adventures and gleanings in the Middle East

Al Absaa, Saudi Arabia, April 2009

At Al Absaa we toured irrigation projects within the largest oasis in Saudi Arabia. Over one million date palms grow here. But the springs that have fed the oasis for generations are going dry. Oil drilling by Aramco has diverted, blocked, or consumed water flows that used to feed the oasis. The city of 1.5 million is also rapidly growing and consuming additional water. This is a story I encounter again and again the world over; this time it just happens to be in Saudi Arabia.


One spring, “The Mother of Seven (Streams),” is now the mother of none. Twenty years ago it stopped flowing on its own. Water must now be pumped. We looked down into the deep hole from which the spring water used to flow. The hole was dripping, but empty.

Speaking to the father and son. Photo by David Eisenberg.A father and son were swimming in a pool fed by the spring’s pumps. The father told me that the water used to be warmer, that he always swam here as a boy, and was glad his son could do likewise. I wondered if there would be water here for his grandson to swim in.

For the rest of the blog post and photos, follow this link to Brad's blog on his website.


Leave a Reply