Saudi Arabia water
A man with a mask smokes a cigarette as he carries a water container in JeddaReuters

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build a huge water storage facility in its desert capital Riyadh.

The state-owned National Water Co. said it will spend 1.8bn Saudi riyals ($480m, £302m, €380m) on part of the first phase of a mega project designed to secure the country's water supply.

The project would "achieve a sustainable and secure water supply and meet the challenges of providing water-sector services" in Riyadh, National Water Co. said in a statement.

The first phase of the project will involve building a 4.6 million cubic metre storage facility, which will be bolstered by a 6 million cubic metre capacity at a later date.

The world's top oil exporter has struggled to supply its rapidly expanding population with enough potable water. Demand has soared in recent years as the Kingdom consumes more water and electricity to support its expanding middle class.