Abu Dhabi: The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has issued a general policy for managing, organising, and protecting groundwater in the emirate as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure the sustainability of Abu Dhabi’s groundwater reserves and secure future water supplies.
The policy reviews the current state of groundwater in Abu Dhabi as well as the challenges and implications of its depletion.
The policy was based on Law No. 5 of 2016 regarding the regulation of groundwater in Abu Dhabi emirate and aims to ensure its optimal use while reducing waste, build comprehensive knowledge of groundwater resources, and promote the use of sound irrigation practices that reduce consumption.
“The deterioration of groundwater quality affects its use, especially in the agricultural sector, which plays an important role in achieving food security and stimulating relevant economic activities. Resorting to other water sources, such as desalinated and recycled water, has other economic effects, requiring investments for transportation and distribution. The increase in groundwater salinity means the need to maintain and replace irrigation networks, adding further costs and burdens for farmers,” the Secretary-General added.
Dr. Al Dhaheri noted that the new policy helps Abu Dhabi take the necessary measures to ensure integrated and effective use of the emirate’s various water resources through sustainable management, regulation, management, and monitoring of groundwater.
This policy will be implemented in Abu Dhabi under EAD’s supervision, supported by consultation, coordination, and cooperation with all relevant authorities in the public and private sectors.
Once implemented, the policy is expected to have a positive environmental impact, as it is expected to decrease groundwater extraction by up to 650 million cubic metres by 2030, in addition to improving the groundwater quality index (both locally and federally). The policy is also expected to decrease the rate of water extraction compared to the feeding average, from 24-fold to 16-fold by 2030.