Abu Dhabi well may reduce water desalination dependence

Work is nearing completion on a 189Ml per day Abu Dhabi groundwater well field that some claim could significantly reduce the Emirates dependence on desalinated water.

The Al-Khazna groundwater well field east of Abu Dhabi is not expected to begin operating “before next year,” according to Herbert Neuland, regional executive director of DaimlerBenz.
Work on the Al-Khazna project began in 1995 and will be managed by a consortium made up of Germany’s state Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Techniche Zusammernarbeit, Daimler-Chrysler and the UAE state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
The Al-Khazna groundwater well project could reduce Abu Dhabi’s dependence on desalinated water by 32% over the next five years, according to a Reuters article.
However, Neuland refused to comment on the cost of the Al-Khazna project or on what use the water would be put to once operation begins. According to Reuters, 90% of the field’s capacity has already been connected to a distribution network and made available to farmers.
Miriam Balaban, secretary to the European Desalination Society, said she was confident the Al-Khazna project would not cause problems for the desalination industry. “No one is shouting in the Gulf about a dramatic increase in competition,” she said.
Balaban cites the fact that another desalination plant is being built in Abu Dhabi as an example of the industry’s strength in the region. “Desalination is an industry with great expenditure and great income. Abu Dhabi is going to need more and more water, and groundwater becomes depleted quickly,” she said.
A UAE University study found that Abu Dhabi depends on two desalination plants for 72 per cent of its fresh water needs. The study also confirmed that Abu Dhabi has the world’s highest per capita consumption of fresh water, at 500l per day.

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