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Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi on groundwater tapping alert

posted on 14/03/2013: 5433 views

As part of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi's (EAD) inspections on farms across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, EAD has ceased nine cases of transfer and selling of groundwater by some farm owners and tank drivers.

This is in violation of Law No (6) for the year 2006 which regulates the drilling of groundwater wells and other related activities in the Emirate.

As the Authority mandated with the implementation of Law No (6) in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Law No (16) for the year 2005, EAD's enforcement officers issued a number of reports on cases of transfer and selling of groundwater without a licence from EAD.

These reports were then sent to the relevant judiciary entities which will take the necessary legal action in accordance with the stipulations of the law.

EAD has recently ramped up its efforts to stop violators who practise the transfer and selling of groundwater as part of its mandate for the preservation of groundwater resources and its protection from depletion and pollution.

It was recently observed that some farm owners practise the transfer and selling of groundwater in violation of the law.

These farm owners have failed to adhere to the conditions of their well-drilling permits which clearly state that they are authorised to use groundwater for irrigation and agricultural purposes only.

This violation results in the depletion and increased salinity of groundwater reserves in that area, which consequently affects other surrounding farms.

EAD recently ramped up its farm inspection efforts across the emirate of Abu Dhabi with the support of the Court of the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, the Abu Dhabi Municipality, Al Ain City Municipality and Western Region Municipality.

To further reinforce these efforts, the transport route of water tanks were monitored to ensure that if any violation was taking place, it was ceased.

These inspections are being held as part of a broader move to raise awareness on the negative impact groundwater selling has on the emirate's strategic groundwater reserves.

Dr Mohammad Al Madfaei, executive director of the Integrated Environment Policy and Planning Sector, EAD said, "At a time when our government is investing in the increase of our groundwater reserves through a number of strategic projects, we — and our partners — must combat the issue of groundwater selling. This violation has a number of negative impacts such as the depletion of fresh groundwater reserves in the emirate and some farmers have even had to abandon their farms — their main source of income.”

Dr Al Madfaei added, "Groundwater selling leads to the deterioration of groundwater quality and increases its salinity, which has large scale environmental impacts on soil quality due to the excess salt accumulating on the surface of the ground. This comes as a result of highly saline water being used for irrigation. This in turn takes a toll on quality and efficiency of farm production, and results in the accumulation of salts in the broader irrigation networks.” – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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