Bisha (Arabic: بيشة, Bīšah), also known as Qal`at Bishah (Arabic: قلعة بيشة, Qalʿat Bīšah), is a town in the southwestern Saudi Arabian province, 'Asir. It is located at . Bisha has a population of 205,346 according to the 2010 Census. Before it was merged with 'Asir, it, too, was a province. Bisha is located in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, which is almost entirely covered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet above sea level. It has nearly 240 villages and 58 larger settlements which are spread out on both sides of the Bisha valley, the longest valley in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Bisha area has immense agricultural importance due to soil fertility, abundant water, and palm cultivation. There are about 3,000,000 palm and date trees of multiple varieties, and their fruits are sold widely to cities in the Kingdom. However, recent droughts have reduced the number of palm trees in Bisha. Some researchers have blamed the government of Saudi Arabia for choosing a strategic plan that involves using a newly constructed dam to supply water to population centers rather than irrigate farms.
Bisha can be divided into the two following agricultural areas:
- The plains area east of Wadi Bisha around King Fahad 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 mainly used for cultivating grapes and other fruits such as guava, mango and pomegranate. Grain and vegetable crops are also grown. Agriculture in Bisha is very dependent on groundwater, and there are nearly 50,000 pumps to draw water 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 the valleys (e.g. Bisha, Tarj, Tabalah, Herjab) of the region. The Ministry of Agriculture and Water was concerned about the Bisha area's dependence on groundwater and initially decided to construct a dam in the Bisha valley (Giant Dam King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz) to support agricultural activities in the region. Due to the scarcity of clean water for the human population, however, the dam was redirected for drinking purposes. As a result, the palm tree industry in Bisha saw a sharp decline in production.
- "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