The study shows a decline in underground water and the depletion of water resources as a result of exports. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: More than 40 people have been found guilty of illegal boring to get water.

Offenders will face fines ranging from Dh5,000 to Dh10,000 for drilling for water supplies for personal use.

Khalid Suletin, Director of Dubai Municipality’s Environment Emergency Office, told Gulf News: “The water you use should come from authorised channels.

“It is not legal to dig the ground to use groundwater. But we found in many areas in the city like Satwa, Al Quoz and Ras Al Khor, people were doing that and using the water for their personal use.

“They used it to wash cars and for general tasks, and this is not permissible.”

Municipality inspectors found that people used small suction pumps and actually drilled the ground in order to get at the water.

“It is not allowed and it also depletes groundwater levels. People should not resort to such measures,” added Suletin.

Groundwater is found in soil pore spaces and flows naturally to the surface.

In February, the Ministerial Service Council banned the export of groundwater due to a decline in its levels in the country.

The ban was brought into effect at the council’s meeting chaired by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in Abu Dhabi.

The move came upon a recommendation from the Federal National Council (FNC) following a study carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Water.

It came following concerns the UAE’s groundwater is fast depleting due to prolonged drought.

About 80,000 wells including 13,000 in Abu Dhabi and 12,000 in Sharjah risk drying up or turning saline.

Earlier this year the municipality also issued a circular asking groundwater drilling companies to obtain prior permission before drilling groundwater wells.

Unauthorised companies were found engaged in drilling wells . To engage in drilling, a company has to be licensed by the Department of Economic Development and approved by Dubai Municipality.

The municipality also launched a campaign to check unrestricted behaviour by unauthorised companies.

Several studies have highlighted the UAE’s depleting groundwater levels and a continual rise in demand indicating a clear need to conserve our resources.

According to studies, demand for water is estimated to double in the coming two decades and by 2030, we will be using nine billion cubic metres of water per year.

More than 50 per cent of the current water supply is catered to by ground water sources, the remaining coming from desalination and treated sewage water.