Dubai: The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) have launched the first hydrogeological map and geo-database of the UAE.
This move is a milestone achievement in documenting and managing water sources with the goal of sustaining and conserving water.
The hydrogeological maps generated include all hydrogeological data, such as groundwater well locations, geology, geomorphology, dams, springs, groundwater quality, and meteorological data. These maps were made with different scales for both regional and local views.
This further enables the implementation of suitable measures and policy formation to exploit these aquifers sustainably using available groundwater resources, protecting them from depletion and pollution, and optimally planning for more effective land use.
Mr. Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, stated that, “The hydrogeological map of the UAE is an effective tool in the hands of policy and decision makers as they develop and implement sustainable water management practices, specifically tailored for the UAE.”
Mr. Al Mazrouei further commented that, “The hydrogeological maps serve the objectives of the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, including the reduction of water scarcity and increasing water productivity, aiming for the reduction of the total water demand by 21 percent, the reuse of 95 percent of treated water, and the conservation of groundwater resources. More importantly, the Strategy will contribute to the reduction of more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from desalination plants, demand management, and conservation measures.”
These maps are unique and they represent a comprehensive hydrogeological geo-database for the UAE. The data sets are Geographical Information System (GIS) based, significantly contributing to hydrogeology.
Dr. Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, pointed out that, “For over four years, we collaborated with MoEI to develop the Hydrogeological Map. We curated, categorized, and analyzed the data available for ground and surface water, then used geographic information systems to interpret the data and identify gaps. Meeting the increasing water demand for all consuming sectors is a challenge that requires an inclusive response. We made sure the Hydrogeological Map is a reliable reference for decision makers to help them make informed decisions and preserve our precious water sources.”
The UAE has a total water demand of 5 billion m3 per year, which is supplied by several water sources in the country, including groundwater at 46 percent, desalinated seawater at 42 percent, treated wastewater at 11 percent, and surface water at 1 percent.