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Water resources in the United Arab Emirates
, A.S. Alsharhan
Published in
2003
Volume: 50
   
Issue: C
Pages: 245 - 264
Abstract
The United Arab Emirates rely on non-conventional water resources, in addition to conventional resources, to meet the ever-increasing demands for water. Conventional water resources include seasonal floods, springs, falajes and groundwater. Non-conventional resources are the desalinated water and treated-sewage water. The existing conventional water resources in the United Arab Emirates include 125 Mm3/yr (million cubic meter per year) from seasonal floods, 3 Mm3/yr from permanent springs, 22 Mm3/yr from seasonal springs, 20 Mm3/yr of falaj discharges, 109 Mm3/yr of aquifer recharge. The existing non-conventional water resources include 475 Mm3/yr of desalinated water and 150 Mm3 of reclaimed water. Future developments may increase the discharge of seasonal springs to 40 Mm3 and falaj discharges to 40 Mm3. Parallel increases in the volumes of desalinated water and treated wastewater may also be achieved. The most important water-related problems in the United Arab Emirates are the depletion of aquifers in several areas, such as at Al Ain and Al Dhaid; saline-water intrusion, and water quality degradation, such as that associated with the oil industry and agricultural activities. Improvement of water-resource management in the United Arab Emirates can lead to water conservation, maintenance of better quality water, and restoration of deteriorating aquifer systems in many areas. The use of advanced irrigation technologies, construction of groundwater-recharge dams, and growing salt-tolerant crops are suitable agricultural approaches. Development of human resources is a priority in the United Arab Emirates, to provide trained national experts in water-related fields. Establishment of data banks and the application of advanced groundwater modeling and isotope hydrology techniques are powerful water-resources management tools. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
About the journal
JournalDevelopments in Water Science
ISSN1675648
Open AccessNo