Abu Dhabi launches AED 1.6 billion high-tech water reserve

Abu Dhabi has completed a 1.6 billion water reserve in the Liwa desert
Abu Dhabi has completed a 1.6 billion water reserve in the Liwa desert

Abu Dhabi has completed the construction of an AED 1.6 billion underground reservoir for desalinated water in Liwa as part of long-term plans to secure its water supply in the desert region.

The joint project, delivered by Abu Dhabi Electricity and Water Authority (ADWEA), Transco and the UAE Environment Agency, has been described as the world’s largest man-made desalinated water reserve, which will store 5.6 billion gallons of desalinated, drinkable water.

The project, which has been delivered to reduce demand and recycle water, includes a 160-kilometre pipeline that connects the water reserve site in the Liwa desert, on the border with Saudi Arabia, to a distribution network in Abu Dhabi city.

The facility, which lies in a region where rainfall rarely exceeds 10 centimetre a year, has a fallback pumping capacity of 100 million gallons of water per day if the emirate needs it.

The water runs from Shuweihat desalination plant at a rate of 7 million imperial gallons per day over 27 months to a network of 315 wells lying up to 80 metres below the Liwa desert.

The news follows last month’s announcement that Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s Barakah nuclear plant was nearing completion.

Announcing the reserve’s launch, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, secretary general of the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi, said. “It’s no secret that during the hottest months, when the demand for electricity rises, there is a surplus of water,” she said. “Now, the unlikeliest of resources, water, will be here in great supply in the desert; there will be a lasting contribution to the water supply for the children and grandchildren of Abu Dhabi.”

Al Mubarak added that the reserve will make “high use” of data and smart technology to ensure it is easy to operate, as well as maintaining “Abu Dhabi’s lead in engineering and sustainability”. “It is a remarkable feat of imagination, innovation and engineering, and a tangible blueprint for other emirates and countries to follow,” she said.

The project was initially conceived in 2002, with “rigorous” feasibility studies taking place in 2010, while the first water was injected in 2015. Today, the reserve is at capacity.

“This is not the end of the project by any measure,” Al Mubarak added. “Abu Dhabi’s history is intertwined with water. The emirate was founded when hunters were chasing gazelles and they discovered fresh water spring. The people of Abu Dhabi relied on fishing, pearling and the fruits of agriculture. The Abu Dhabi government is proud to add another chapter in this journey.”

ADWEA director general Dr Saif Al Sayari said, “A region with one of biggest droughts in the world, now has the biggest fresh water reserve in the region. Stocking large amounts of water was the dream of older generations in this country. The investment in technology has made that dream a reality.”

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


The free newsletter covering the top industry headlines