Regional brines that underlie the potable groundwater appear to be responsible for the increase in dissolved solids in the Wadi Al Bih aquifer in the Ras Al Khaimah Emirate, United Arab Emirates. In this karstic carbonate aquifer, groundwater extraction exceeds recharge and the reduced heads can induce transport of underlying brines into the potable water aquifer. Increasing dissolved solids with time threatens the continued use of groundwater for agricultural and domestic uses. The potential of intrusion of seawater, dissolution of minerals, or intrusion of regional brines as a source of these solutes were evaluated based on groundwater samples collected in April and September 1996 from the Wadi Al Bih well field and isotope data from previously collected samples. Hydrogeologic conditions and solute modeling suggest the dominant source of solutes in the Wadi Al Bih aquifer is most likely an underlying regional brine. The pervasive presence of tritium is consistent with recent (since 1960s) recharge in the drainage basin, thus, the solutes and water appear to be from different sources. The chemical and isotopic data are also consistent with enhanced groundwater recharge associated with dams constructed to reduce flooding. © Springer-Verlag 2007.