Al Ain: The Ministry of Presidential Affairs is assessing development and application of cloud seeding technology for increased rain to enhance recharging of groundwater resources in the country.

The programme has been initiated through the Department of Atmospheric Studies (DAS) in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, to assess the development and application of cloud seeding technology, said Sufian K. Farrah, a senior official at the DAS.

Speaking at a conference on the management of water resources, he said preliminary assessment has identified some key areas of study required for assessing the efficacy and potential benefits of rainfall enhancement via hygroscopic seeding, and understands the impact of rainfall on groundwater resources.

The programme is being implemented by introducing cloud seeding technology in cooperation with the National Centre of the Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the United States, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and the United States space agency Nasa, he said.

Hygroscopic seeding is a process for precipitation formation in warm clouds. This technique is based on an enhancement of the condensation process in the clouds as a means to increase rainfall.

Farrah said a significant part of the study involves building a meteorological infrastructure and field work aircraft measurement of trace gases that are important for aerosol formation and existing aerosols that are involved in cloud processes.

"Radar data gathered during the summer seasons revealed a high occurrence of convective rainstorms over the mountains.

However, the UAE project goes beyond established top standards ... UAE achievements provided immeasurable benefits not only for science but also for many countries of the world," he said.

The conference - Water Resources Development, Conservation And Management - was organised by the College of Graduate Studies at the UAE University with the cooperation of Schlumberger Water Services.

Held in Al Ain yesterday, the conference was attended by a large number of experts from national and international organisations. The conference theme was Challenges for Water Sustainability.

According to the conference organisers, the problem of water shortages has already reached an alarming level in the region. Proper actions should be implemented to sustain and preserve the limited available water resources.

A great deal of scientific and applied research is needed if sound management policies are to be implemented to address problems related to the quantity and quality of water resources in the UAE and the GCC countries, said the organisers.