October 26, 2021

Abu Dhabi groundwater to dry up in 50 years

New research by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has concluded that the emiriate’s groundwater supplies will run out within 50 years.

The UAE currently uses 2.1bn cubic metres of water every year.

Strategies being put into place to deal with the problem include restrictions on the building of new water wells, educating farmers on best practice, reducing consumption and making use of waste and desalinated water.

Permission will be required for all new wells to be built and in certain red zones, this will be denied as a matter of course.

Acting executive director of environment quality sector at EAD, Sheikha Al Hosani said: “Our job is also to educate [farmers], for the time being all the responses have been very positive.

“We are not only studying, we are also taking actions to make sure that individuals are not overconsuming water resources,” said Ms Al Hosani.

A lot of people still have a negative perception of the use of treated waste water, however.

Dr Mohamed Dawoud, EAD adviser for water resources, said that pipelines would be built to carry water from the desalination plant at Musaffah to areas of need in the emirate but it would take two or three years for them to be completed.

The EAD will survey groundwater sources over the next three years before analysing the data along with soil mapping and information about the type, quality and quantity of wells to create a comprehensive water atlas of the emirate.

Razan Al Mubarak, secretary-general of EAD said: “This all-encompassing inventory project is going to have a positive impact for all those involved, with the end goal of finding more efficient ways to grow local crops while reducing wastage of our scarce water resources.”

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