Bisha (Arabic: بيشة, Bīšah), also known as Qal`at Bishah (Arabic: قلعة بيشة, Qalʿat Bīšah), is a town in Southwestern Saudi Arabia, in the 'Asir province. It is located at around . Bisha had a population of 205,346 in the 2010 Census. It was a province until 1973 when it merged with the province 'Asir and became one of Asir's governances.
Geographically, Bisha is located in the northern part of the Southern region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at an altitude of about 2,000 feet above sea level. Nearly 240 villages spread out on both sides of the Bisha valley, the longest valley in the Arabian Peninsula, and there are 58 urban centres for gatherings.
The Bisha area is agriculturally-important due to soil fertility, abundant water, and palm cultivation of the Bisha area. There are now about three million palm and date trees of multiple varieties which are sold to nearly all cities in the Kingdom. However, a lack of rain has reduced the number of palm trees in Bisha. Some researchers have blamed the government of Saudi Arabia for choosing a strategic plan that involved using a newly constructed dam to supply the city with water, rather than following the original proposal which was to use the water for agriculture.
Bisha can be divided into two agricultural areas:
- The plains area east of Wadi Bisha around King Fahd Dam in "Bisha'at Bin Omair".
- The mountainous western section that includes part of the Sarawat Mountains and extends from the town perched in the north to Qahta in the south.
The land around Bisha is used mainly for cultivating grapes and other fruits such as guava, mango and pomegranate, but grain and vegetable crops are also grown. Agriculture in Bisha is very dependent on groundwater and there are nearly fifty thousand pumps to draw water up from the ground for irrigation.
The area around Bisha is considered fertile and the soil type is yellow or light because of mud deposits in valleys of the region such as Bisha, Tarj, Tabalah and Herjab. The Ministry of Agriculture and Water was concerned about the Bisha area's dependence on ground water and decided to construct a dam in the Bisha valley (Giant Dam King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz) to support agricultural activity in this region. However, because of a lack of clean water for the population, the dam's purpose was changed to benefit the people rather than agriculture, and from then on Bisha agriculture started to lose hundreds of thousands of its palm trees in one decade.
- "Saudi Arabia: Bisha". Geohive.
- "Ministry steps in as drought weighs heavily on Bisha". Arab News. 6 May 2011.
- The Biggest Dam in the Kingdom: Splendid Arabia, An Online Guide to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia