Abu Dhabi Warns Against Illegal Groundwater Selling

EAD monitors groundwater selling to protect the groundwater supply against depletion and pollution

Environment Agency Abu Dhabi Illegal Groundwater Selling

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) has called upon farm, landowners and contractors to cease the drilling of wells without a permit, and the illegal selling of groundwater. EAD has reaffirmed that it will be taking all necessary legal measures against violators, in accordance with the stipulations of Law No. 6 of 2006. EAD is the government entity mandated with the implementation of this law, which regulates well drilling and other related activities.

This call is in line with EAD's efforts for the protection of the Emirate's groundwater supply against its depletion and pollution, in order to ensure its sustainability for future generations. Following recent inspection visits conducted by the EAD, it was observed that a number of farm owners were illegally selling groundwater, thus jeopardizing the groundwater supplies in these areas by contributing to their depletion and increased salinity, as well as impacting other surrounding farms negatively.

EAD will begin a series of intensive inspection visits to farms across the Emirate to detect and monitor and stop groundwater selling. These inspections will be held as part of a broader move to raise awareness on the negative impact groundwater selling has on the Emirate's strategic groundwater reserves. Inspectors will emphasize the importance of groundwater conservation and highlight the need to abide by regulations set forth by Law No. 6 of 2006, which regulates the well drilling and other related activities, to avoid legal action.

The inspection visits will be conducted in collaboration with a number of stakeholders in the Emirate including the Court of the Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain City Municipality and Western Region Municipality.

H.E Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, said: "As the government authority mandated with the protection of the environment in the Emirate, one of our strategic priorities is to conserve Abu Dhabi's precious groundwater resources to ensure it is available for future generations. Groundwater in the UAE is largely a non-renewable resource, making its protection and conservation a vital undertaking. We have adopted a comprehensive management plan that is aimed at the optimization of groundwater use through careful planning, management and regulation. Well drilling represents one of the prime pressures on this precious resource of ours, and we need the full support and cooperation of the community in managing it."

H.E Al Mubarak mentioned that EAD's groundwater conservation efforts are two-fold. It is directly involved in Law No. 6 of 2006 and plays a key role in updating or introducing future legislation on well permitting. It also leads efforts on the Emirate's groundwater reserve management strategy along with its stakeholders. Today, there is a joint effort between the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority for the provision of alternative water sources to cover the needs of developmental projects and labour camps, in order to reduce the pressure on groundwater resources. EAD's current operational efforts in developing and controlling groundwater include: creating an online well permitting system, developing an online system to register drilling contractors, as well as the installation of GPS tracking systems on the drilling rigs themselves.

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Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi

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