Artificial Storage and Recovery of Ground Water Resources

Project description

Title: Artificial recharge and utilisation of Ground Water Resources in the Liwa area
Commissioned by: Adu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA)
Financier: Adu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA)
Country: United Arab Emirates
Partner: Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD)
Overall term: 2008 to 2015


In the arid environment of the United Arab Emirates, freshwater is a precious resource. Storage capacities for freshwater are limited and a safe water supply can not be guaranteed, particularly if there should be an emergency. Huge quantities of drinking water are produced in the desalination plants along the coastline of Abu Dhabi. However, there is a lack of storage capacities for this.


A large, reliable and sustainable reservoir for fresh groundwater has been established for the transportation, underground storage and safe recovery of surplus desalinated seawater. This has helped to secure the water supply of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for the indefinite future.


The project area in the remote Liwa region enjoys excellent conditions for the exploitation of aquifers, with good storage capacity and groundwater flow regime, and a high quality of natural groundwater. A feasibility study, followed by a pilot project in 2002-2003, demonstrated the technical suitability of the proposed infiltration and recovery schemes for artificial recharge, and the use of desalinated seawater for the purpose.

Now, this large-scale project is setting up the necessary infrastructure to realise the scheme, including pipelines, storage tanks, pumping stations, infiltration basins, recovery wells and monitoring wells. On completion, a reservoir will exist in a desert region that can be accessed whenever needed. A sophisticated control and instrumentation system will ensure the user-friendly and reliable operation of the facility. The project is a benchmark for water management in desert regions, and is set to redefine international standards.