UAE | Environment

Abu Dhabi warns against illegal groundwater selling

Measure to ensure its sustainability for future generations

  • Staff Report
  • Published: 19:22 February 17, 2013
  • Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) has called upon farm, land owners and contractors to stop 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, an EAD statement said yesterday (Sunday).

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 jeopardising 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. This is part of a broader move to raise awareness on the negative impact groundwater selling has on the emirate’s strategic groundwater reserves. Inspectors will emphasise 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.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, said: “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 optimisation 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.”

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