Featuring both local and international experts:
The United Arab Emirates University hosted a meeting on high levels of groundwater in residential areas recently. The event was organized by the College of Sciences at UAEU and the National Water Center (with the Water Sciences and Technology Association). It was held on Wednesday and Thursday, 27th-28th January, 2016 on the UAEU campus in Al Ain. There were a number of experts from Gulf Cooperation Council countries and also from Germany in attendance.
Dr. Ahmed Murad, Dean of the College of Science was quoted as saying that, “the college is constantly striving for leadership and excellence in research. This is achieved by an exchange of expertise and information between experts from Gulf Cooperation Council countries and other international experts.” He stressed the role of the Water Sciences and Technology Association in maintaining water levels in the Middle East.
The meeting touched on methodology, the reasons for high levels of natural and non-natural groundwater and the solutions to the environmental problems related to this phenomenon.
The meeting brought together a number of experts from UAEU, the GCC and Germany. Professor Abdulaziz Al Turbak, from King Saud University in the KSA, presented a case study on groundwater in Riyadh; Professor Hayder A. Baker of the Department of Geology at UAEU presented a survey on groundwater rates in Al Ain while Dr. Kristen Libnath from Dresden University presented on the high levels of the water in Lausitz area of Germany. Dr. Mohammed Mustafa from the College of Engineering at UAEU highlighted a case study on raising groundwater levels in Al Ain. Dr. Ali Al Jaloud from the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology presented a paper on how to take advantage of drought resistant plants and salinity to reduce surface water. Finally, the meeting concluded with a paper by Dr. Omar Al Sheikh from the Abu Dhabi Municipality about the high groundwater levels in various locations in Abu Dhabi Emirate.
The meeting produced recommendations for sustainable solutions to this problem. These included building up and documenting scientific data on high groundwater levels at different times; developing an early warning system that helps decision-makers to take appropriate action; the use of technology and proper management of irrigation and landscaping to reduce water consumption; the development of groundwater withdrawal technologies and the standardization of research. By establishing a cooperative network involving the National Water Center and UAEU this problem can be managed far better.