Tue 28-02-2017 22:18 PM

Rainwater can replenish local groundwater: UAEU study

AL AIN, 28th February, 2017 (WAM) -- Studies conducted by researchers of the National Water Centre at the UAE University, UAEU, show that the country’s average feeding of groundwater may increase 12 percent, thanks to the winter rainwater, the decline in temperature and low humidity levels.

In a statement to Emirates News Agency, Dr. Mohsen Sherif, Director of the Centre, said that the rate of resupply for groundwater dams increased in locations with lakes in front of dams, which were built on most of the country’s valleys such as Wadi Ham in Fujairah, Wadi Al Tawyeen, Wadi Al Baij in Ras al-Khaimah, as well as Wadi Al Shuwaib in Shuwaib.

He added that more quantities of water remain in the non-waterlogged layers, leading to the increase of moisture levels in those layers, which contribute to the growth of plants and trees and the improvement of the environment in a natural and spontaneous way.

Sherif noted that the UAE’s groundwater dams have special capacity to absorb more rainwater in most parts of the country, as they contain a high percentage of highly porous sand that allows the absorption of rainwater into the dams, leading to a noticeable rise of groundwater levels after rainstorms.

The rise of groundwater levels may reach more than 10 metres depending on the intensity of rainstorms, which indicates the high capability for rain absorption, Dr. Sherif said.

He added that the National Water Centre has prepared accurate maps using modern geographic data systems that clarifies the distribution of the annual average rainfall in the UAE, as well as the distribution of the highest rainfall averages within 24 hours, which is seen as one of the important factors to be taken into account when designing cities and important establishments.

Sherif said despite the high capacity for renewing water levels in groundwater dams, the scarcity of rain during the last two decades and the increase of groundwater utilisation, especially in agriculture, led to the decline of fresh water reserves in shallow groundwater dams, from around 238,000 billion cubic metres in the late 1960s to currently around 22,000 billion cubic metres.

There are deeper groundwater reserves not yet discovered amid signs of fresh water, he added.