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Groundwater Atlas to help conservation in Abu Dhabi

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
Filed on January 16, 2019 | Last updated on January 16, 2019 at 11.17 pm

(Supplied)

This data will help track and analyse the status, levels and uses of groundwater reserves in the emirate.

A groundwater management research programme that will help control water usage at Abu Dhabi agricultural farms and promote efficiency has been rolled out in the Capital.

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) on Wednesday launched the first-ever Abu Dhabi Groundwater Atlas at the ongoing World Future Energy Summit (WFES) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

The Atlas summarises the quantity, quality, natural, chemical and biological properties, location, depth and type of groundwater resources in the emirate in the form of annotated maps, charts, tables and graphs.

This data will help track and analyse the status, levels and uses of groundwater reserves in the emirate. The findings will assist authorities in improving and promoting the efficient use of water resources in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikha Al Hosani, executive director of EAD's Environmental Quality Sector, told Khaleej Times at the launch of the project: "We are facing the challenge of the hot weather and barren land in the UAE. And this is why we had to conduct this research project so that we can limit the amount of groundwater usage at all Abu Dhabi farms to promote conservation and ensure sustainability.

"Many farmers have been using excessive water in irrigation because of the lack of accurate data. But with the launch of the Groundwater Atlas, we shall now have control over the water being used by each farm because we are able to determine the amount of water needed by each plant on the farms."

Al Hosani noted that Groundwater Atlas will help reduce water usage in Abu Dhabi farms by 50 per cent.

It took three years to compile the Atlas and the work was carried out in three phases. It incorporates the results of the Groundwater Wells Inventory project that recorded over 100 measurement parameters, including the abstraction volume, water levels, salinity, coordinates, type, well depth and use of over 118,000 wells in the emirate.

Each groundwater well in Abu Dhabi has been assigned a unified identification number to ensure it is easily traceable and identifiable.

The maps also combine outcomes of the Soil Salinity Mapping initiative, in which soil samples from more than 4,000 farms were analysed to determine the soil type, salinity and quality in order to study the sustainability of crops and farming in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, acting secretary-general of the EAD, said groundwater has always been considered a precious resource in the UAE, and an inherent and essential asset to the country's survival and progress.

"The Abu Dhabi Groundwater Atlas underscores our efforts in compiling, interpreting and analysing all relevant groundwater sources in the emirate. It will serve as a valuable reference tool for policy-makers, water managers, scientists and researchers who are working towards preserving our groundwater stores," said Al Dhaheri.

"This initiative will also go a long way in supporting stakeholders in developing a sustainable, integrated and effective water resource management plan to ensure that we use this scarce resource responsibly and efficiently - in line with government directives."

She added: "Among the key findings from the Abu Dhabi Groundwater Atlas is the strong link of differences in the groundwater levels in Abu Dhabi to areas of irrigation and agricultural activity in the emirate."

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

Ismail Sebugwaawo


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