Water Conservation and Integrated Management
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To conserve flood water, the Emiratis have practiced surface-water harvesting for hundreds of years for agricultural and domestic purposes. They have built barriers, open or covered “berkas” (ponds) and “habisas”. Starting in the 1980s, the government has built more than 130 groundwater-recharge dams capable of storing 120 m3 and is planning to build 68 additional dams.
The UAE political leadership has realized the water-shortage problem and each emirate has at least a law or an Amiri Decree, regulating water-well drilling and groundwater extraction and protection. However, the detailed implementation procedures have to be formulated and put in action.
The Abu Dhabi Food Control Agency (ADFCA) has provided a number of initiatives for reducing water wastage in agriculture, including reduction of water consumption in farms, use of treated wastewater for irrigation, promoting sound agricultural practices, phasing out Rhodes grass cultivation, improving irrigation networks, application of smart irrigation systems, improvement of soils and expansion in greenhouse agriculture.
The chapter also discusses demand-and-supply management of desalinated water, and reuse of treated wastewater, in additional to technological solutions and social practices. The technological solutions include implementation of aquifers’ safe yield, controlling water wastage, minimizing water losses and water tariffs. The social responsibility involves improving planning and raising awareness.
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