Abu Dhabi to enable recycled water supply to 1,600 farms
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Abu Dhabi to enable recycled water supply to 1,600 farms

Abu Dhabi to enable recycled water supply to 1,600 farms

ADAFSA has a system in place to monitor the quality and safety of recycled water before distributing it to farms

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Abu Dhabi to enable recycled water supply to 1,600 farms image Abu Dhabi Media Office

A new delivery plan to distribute recycled water to more than 1,600 farms in the emirate has been launched.

The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) recently launched the plan in partnership with the Department of Energy – Abu Dhabi, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), TAQA, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain Distribution Company, and Abu Dhabi Sustainable Water Solutions Company.

Abu Dhabi’s plan to expand the use of recycled water in agriculture aligns with its overall sustainability goals to reduce pressure on groundwater resources and use this resource across various development sectors.

The project is also aligned with the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to reduce water consumption by 21 per cent, reduce the water scarcity index by three degrees, and increase the reuse of treated water to 95 per cent, to ensure the sustainability and continuity of securing water supplies for all residential, commercial, government, industrial and agricultural uses.

Distribution plans for recycled water

TAQA and its subsidiaries have constructed the pipelines that will distribute approximately 150,000 cubic metres per day to farms in Al Khatam, Khazna and Nahda areas in Abu Dhabi to meet their recycled water needs at a rate of 73 cubic metres per day for each farm, equivalent to 16,500 gallons of water.

The plan to use recycled water in agriculture will save large amounts of groundwater by eliminating the pumping of groundwater from approximately 4,850 wells in the Khatam and Khazna areas, helping to conserve non-renewable water resources and achieve optimal use of water resources and sustainability of the agricultural sector in Abu Dhabi.

ADAFSA is seeking to expand its use on farms to achieve its strategic objective of enabling and promoting the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and systems.

According to Engineer Mubarak Ali Alqusaili Al Mansouri, executive director of the Agricultural Affairs Sector in ADAFSA, the agricultural sector is still 81.4 per cent dependent on groundwater, 18 per cent on costly desalinated seawater, and 0.6 per cent on recycled water, which calls for expanding the use of recycled water to reduce the depletion of groundwater and the consumption of desalinated seawater.

Since 2012, ADAFSA, in cooperation with its stakeholders, has succeeded in implementing a project to irrigate 143 farms in Al Nahda area with recycled water instead of groundwater, where these farms are supplied with their needs of recycled water from Al Mafraq station, and then treated to the advanced stage in the additional treatment plant in Al Nahda, through which about 12,000 cubic metres are distributed to these farms daily.

Monitoring system in place

Al Mansouri affirmed that ADAFSA uses a system to monitor the quality and safety of recycled water before distributing it to farms, emphasising that the use of recycled water technology in irrigating farms was carried out after conducting studies and evaluations to ensure its quality and safety. This includes a study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization to assess the quality of water used in Al Nahda farms, which proved that triple-treated water is suitable for growing many crops.

Engineer Faisal Al Hammadi, acting executive director of the Environmental Quality Sector at EAD, said the project of transporting, distributing, and reusing treated wastewater will have many environmental and economic impacts.

The most significant impact will see the flow of treated water stopped into the Musaffah canal, allowing it to be cleaned and disinfected and removing approximately 3 million cubic metres of sediments.

The project will also ensure the stop of groundwater use and stop wells in 1,600 farms and forests in the Al Khatam and Al Khazna areas at a rate of up to 250,000 cubic metres per day, contributing to the rational use of groundwater in agriculture and achieving integrated management and sustainable development of available water resources.

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