Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, issued a law on regulating groundwater use in the emirate.
The law stipulates that groundwater in the emirate is a natural asset wholly owned by Abu Dhabi, and its extraction and exploitation is subject to rules and regulations issued by Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD).
The law also stipulates that the activities of groundwater well dredging, water transport or installation of water desalination units for non-drinking purposes cannot be practised without obtaining permits from EAD.
As per the law, owners of groundwater wells or water desalination units will be committed to installation of a water meter on the well and registration of all wells.
They should not exceed the maximum amount of water prescribed for extraction and conduct regular maintenance of wells, pumps, meters and related appliances.
They are not entitled to sell groundwater and should adhere to all obligations prescribed by the law.
The law streamlines practising the profession of digging wells in the emirate and obligations applicable to drilling contractors.
The law bans contaminating and polluting groundwater. Those who discovered groundwater accidentally must notify EAD.
Violators of the law may face imprisonment or a fine up to Dh300,000. The fine may be doubled if the same violation recurs.